With the duel of the two Manchesters happening in just a week’s time, Manchester United’s Juan Mata is confident that they can beat City for second place in the ongoing Premier League if they can grab wins against the other teams that that are in the top four.

“We are one point and two points from City and Arsenal and I think we can do it,” Mata said in an interview by the BBC. “We can even be second if we win the direct games against them.”

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal echoed Mata’s assertion. “Of course. I cannot deny that, because we have Manchester City at home. We have the strongest record at home so it’s possible,” van Gaal stated.

However, van Gaal was quick to point out that the City will still be a challenge. “But Manchester City is a top team so it shall not be easy. First I think we have to concentrate on playing Aston Villa. In the away match we played 11 against 10 a lot of time and we couldn’t score. They can organise and play on the counterattack, and that’s always difficult.” United played the nearly relegated Ashton Villa this Saturday.

The Red Devils are currently just two points behind the City in the team standings. They have alsoi maintained a comfortable distance over Liverpool at six points, with just eight matches left, including the Ashton game.

However, United’s campaign suffered a setback, as striker Robin van Persie has been announced to miss the Manchester derby due to an injury. Manager Van Gaal confirmed the 31-year old player’s predicament.  “I don’t think so,” he announced earlier. “He’s still not [training] in my group. The process has to give me signals he is ready for that. But I know that from my experience it is not like that. And everybody is fit.”

Paul Koroma

I learned all about life with a ball at my feet. Soccer allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train. I play, and I repeat every single day.

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