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Premier League

Juan Mata says every Manchester United game is 'like a cup final'

The £37m signing made his debut in last night's 2-0 victory over Cardiff City

Juan Mata says Manchester United must treat every game like a final if they are to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League.

The £37m signing from Chelsea played 85 minutes in last night's 2-0 victory over Cardiff and appears to have settled quickly in his new surroundings.

The match also saw the return of strike duo Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney from injury.

Despite having only arrived on Saturday, Mata was quick to note the significance of their return.

"We are talking about two of the best strikers in the world," the Spaniard said after last night's match. "They are unbelievable. Hopefully they will score a lot of goals until the end of the season."

Manchester United remain seventh in the Premier League despite collecting three points last night, with the gap between themselves and the top four at six points. However, Mata believes United are capable of making up the ground.

"We will try until the end, for sure," he said. "I think this is a team who never give up. So every game is like a final for us and we will try to win all of them."

Mata received a warm welcome from the Old Trafford crowd and speaking to the BBC after the match, showed his gratitude.

"It was very exciting for me. To be honest - this is unbelievable, the fans are unbelievable. I'm very happy with the team, the lads. They welcomed me very very good. So I'm looking forward to playing more and helping the team."

United manager David Moyes will be hoping Mata can act as the catalyst as United push for Champions League qualification, and while his mere arrival appears to have lifted spirits, Mata also laid out what he hopes he can bring to the team.

"I try my best always. I try to assist. I try to play between the lines. I try to find gaps and try to assist so today I think was a good game but I looking forward to improve."

Who could United add to the capture of Mata?

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