Juan Mata regards Manchester United’s crunch Premier League clash against Chelsea this weekend as “special” and “massive”.
The Reds will be looking for a fourth successive win in all competitions when taking on champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon, in what is always an eagerly awaited clash in any season.
Reflecting on the last seven days, Mata told man utd “It was great. Obviously facing a great rival like Tottenham, it was a massive three points for us and then keeping our winning record in the Champions League which almost took us to qualification so we are happy and now we face another special game.”
Next up for the Reds is another London team in the title race, in the form of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, who have so far made a stuttering start to the defence of their trophy.
Mata will be returning to a stadium he knows well, having spent three years at Stamford Bridge before his transfer to Old Trafford in 2014. Although he acknowledged it will be a tough battle against the Blues, the Spaniard is confident the Reds can come away with a victory which would be hugely significant at the top of the table.
“It’s another massive game,” he said. “It’s always difficult to play at Stamford Bridge, against Chelsea, always a tough opponent but we will try to come back to Manchester with three points and we will try to keep a good run of results going in the Premier League after beating Tottenham. We have another challenge now on Sunday and hopefully we can get through it.”
Like Mata, Nemanja Matic will also be reunited with familiar faces in West London, as the Serbian midfielder prepares to face his former club for the first time since he left them to join United in the summer.
When asked if he had spoken to Matic about returning to their old club, Mata said: “No, I haven’t spoken to him, but I guess it will be special for him after being at Chelsea like myself and it’s always special going back for the first time. Obviously now he’s with us and he wants to have a good game and win and hopefully he can play well.”
Chelsea enter the game on the back of a chastening 3-0 defeat at Roma in the Champions League in midweek and Mata believes the Reds must be wary of a backlash from the Blues on Sunday.
He added: “I think they will come into the game with even more intensity and an even stronger will to win. If that defeat in Rome has any effect on them, I think it will make them even more willing to win so we need to be ready for that.”