Mata: Manchester United ‘confident’ as top four hunt continues

by Ben Topliss

Juan Mata believes his goal in the 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday may prove to be an important one as Manchester United look to secure a top four finish in the Premier League.

Man United put in a dour display at Carrow Road but Mata’s second-half strike eventually earned his side all three points.

On Sunday, fourth-placed Manchester City drew with Arsenal, meaning that United will secure a top four spot if they win all of their remaining league games. Mata insisted that United are “confident” as the season draws to a close.

“We are in good spirits after winning in Carrow Road,” Mata wrote in his blog.

“With Norwich fighting against relegation, it wasn’t the most beautiful game we’ve played; it was a tough one, but in the second half we showed that we wanted those three points and I was lucky to help the team with a goal.

“It’s true that Norwich brings me good memories: I have scored several times against them, including my first goal in England. Saturday’s goal, and that’s the main thing, shows that we are eager to keep working, that we remain confident until the end. It may turn profitable when the season is over. It was a very important win to keep us in the fight for the Champions League, even more after the draw between City and Arsenal.

“There is no time for celebrations though, since we have another game on Tuesday as difficult as the one on Saturday, or even more. It’s against West Ham, our last away game of the Premiership. It’s going to be special: the last official game at the Boleyn Ground, where West Ham has been playing for 112 years. With that image of Sir Bobby Moore, it’s a place that breathes English football… it will be an honour to be there and try to get the last win. West Ham has been a tough opponent this season. We know them well because we’ve played against them in the FA Cup too. They are in the seventh position by a combination of effort and talent, not by chance.”

United now have three hugely important games that could shape their entire campaign and the way Louis van Gaal’s reign is remembered.

A trip to West Ham precedes a final fixture at home to Bournemouth, before United take on Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final. After all the troubles that United have been through this season, a top four finish and a Cup win would be superb.

But fail, and there is no doubt that van Gaal will be swiftly shown the exit door at Old Trafford. It is hugely important that United are on top form in the coming weeks.

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