Stoke City v Manchester United: Juan Mata tells United team-mates to 'play quickly' if they are to beat Stoke
The Spaniard is wary of the Potters' robust style
Friday 31 January 2014
Juan Mata believes speed is the key to Manchester United getting three more valuable points from Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Stoke.
United have already had one positive result at the Britannia Stadium this season, securing an excellent win in the Capital One Cup.
Sadly for the Red Devils, it just proved to be one of numerous false dawns during David Moyes' debut campaign.
Mata's £37.1million arrival from Chelsea is aimed at securing something rather more long term.
And, with Everton and Tottenham both dropping points in midweek, the opportunity does exist for United to claim a place in the top five this weekend.
Yet Mata knows beating Stoke cannot be taken for granted.
A 3-2 defeat for Chelsea in the Potteries last month came on one of his rare Premier League starts for Jose Mourinho.
And, while Mata was part of a Blues team that romped to a four-goal success last term, the 25-year-old has been around long enough not to expect an easy time.
"It has always been difficult to play against Stoke," he said.
"They like to play long balls and are a physical team but we just need to play our own game with the quality players we have.
"If you try to play quickly, you can get chances to score and put yourself in a good position."
A raucous atmosphere is guaranteed from a sell-out crowd - not that Mata is too worried about the reception.
"The thing I like the most is to play," he said. "It doesn't matter to me what the stadium is."
With Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney back, United already look a different proposition to the team that limped into 2014.
However, defender Jonny Evans is not getting carried away.
"We can't keep saying every time we get a win that it is going to kick start our season," he said.
"We will only be able to do that in maybe five games' time.
"We need to make sure we keep performing like that."
Latest in Sport
Sheffield United vs Tottenham match report: Christian Eriksen breaks hearts after Che Adams had brought Blades back from the brink
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Australian Open 2015: Serena Williams vs Madison Keys match preview
Tottenham player ratings: Christian Eriksen? Harry Kane? Who was the star man at Bramall Lane?
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berydch: Murray cool over reunion with coach Dani Vallverdu at the Australian Open
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures