Juan Mata issues Man United rallying cry ahead of Man City test

Juan Mata says Manchester United are facing 'seven finals' as the Premier League season reaches its climax

Juan Mata has told his Manchester United team-mates that they must treat their remaining seven Premier League games as “finals”.

The Spaniard played the full 90 minutes and notched up an assist as Louis van Gaal’s men ran out 3-1 winners over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday to move up to third place in the table.

United are now gearing up for next weekend’s derby clash with Manchester City at Old Trafford – and Mata has stressed the importance of staying focused in the run-in.

Speaking to MUTV, Mata said: “The season has gone so quickly – it seems we were in pre-season only a few months ago. But we still have some finals left before the end.

“We want to finish as high as we can and I think we can win a lot of games between now and the end of the season if we perform like we did in the last few games.

“We are facing two or three very big rivals like Chelsea, City and Arsenal so we need to be at our best level to beat them. Each game is a final and we have to think about each one on their own.

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“So now we are thinking about Sunday [against City] and then we will think about the next one. Every point is very important from now until the end and we will look at every game as a final.”

Saturday’s victory left United in third place in the Premier League table and eight points behind leaders Chelsea heading into the final seven games of the season.

Ander Herrera gave United the lead on the stroke of half-time with a low shot after good work from Daley Blind.

Wayne Rooney then made it 2-0 in the 79th minute when he fired into the top corner.

Villa’s Christian Benteke pulled one back for Tim Sherwood’s visitors with a low strike – but Herrera sealed the victory with a side-footed finish in stoppage time.

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