Juan Mata states his prediction for Anderlecht v Man United

The Manchester United midfielder is confident the Red Devils can secure a positive first leg outcome at Anderlehct

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata Photo: Adidas

Juan Mata is confident that Manchester United can score an away goal in the first leg at Anderlecht to take control of their Europa League quarter-final in Belgium.

The Red Devils will be hoping to qualify for next season’s Champions League competition by virtue of winning Europe’s second tier competition this season.

Manchester United are in fifth place in the Premier League table but four points behind Manchester City in the final qualifying spot, with Arsenal and Liverpool competing with the Manchester clubs for a top-four finish.

The Red Devils have already beaten Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne and Russian outfit FC Rostov in the Europa League knockout stage in the 2016-17 season so far.

Mata is sidelined with a groin problem which has kept the Spain international on the sidelines since a win at Middlesbrough last month.

Speaking to his blog One Hour Behind about Manchester United’s quarter-final clash against Anderlecht on Thursday evening, Mata said:

“[On Thursday] we have to make the first step towards the Europa League semifinals and try to get closer to win this competition. The team travels to Belgium to face Anderlecht.

“We need a good score if we want to make it to the next round the following week. We take this competition very seriously as this is another way to be in the Champions League the next season.

“It’s going to be an interesting week and I hope it goes well for us.”

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Mata moved to Manchester United in a then club-record deal from Chelsea back in the 2013 January transfer window.

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