Manchester United's Juan Mata vows to keep fighting for regular role

Juan Mata

Juan Mata insists he is 100% committed to proving a success under new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.

Manchester United midfield Juan Mata has vowed to continue fighting to earn a regular spot on manager Louis van Gaal’s team sheet.

Mata, 26, has been in and out of the United line-up so far this season, amid on-going rumours that he could be heading for a potential exit as soon as the winter.

Nevertheless, the club’s former record-signing has still managed three goals in seven starts under Van Gaal and, having coming on in the second-half of Saturday’s home match against Crystal Palace to score the only goal of the game, hopes to have convinced the Dutchman of his worth.

"The manager, like in every team, is the one who decides who plays,” he told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.

“And what we have to do is what I did against Palace --- seize every opportunity and try to help the team. Luckily on Saturday my goal was worth three points.

"It was an explosion of joy because the game was difficult, because we came away from several games without a victory and [the goal] was important. I'm very happy."

United have made a slow start under new boss Van Gaal, taking just 16 points from the first eleven Premier League games, while also suffering a shock 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat at MK Dons.

Mata believes, however, that the win over Palace could be a potential turning point, although the Spain international stresses that the target at the moment is a return to the Champions League rather than a title challenge.

"The target of the club, as the coach himself said, is to secure the Champions League qualification,” he said. “Last year we did not get it and this year we have to.

“It has been a season with good results and some less good, but we have a good taste from the last game.

“There have been a host of circumstances. We have not had all the players available [due to injuries], some unlucky mistakes... things have not gone as we wanted, but hopefully the victory against Palace is a turning point in the season and we will start to win more regularly."

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