Newcastle United v Manchester United: Mata out to make more memories
Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata is hoping he can create more good memories at St James' Park when they visit Newcastle United on Wednesday.
Louis van Gaal's men travel to Tyneside sitting fourth in the Premier League following a 2-0 win over 10-man Sunderland at the weekend.
However, the Old Trafford club's performances have remained largely unconvincing and will need to improve during what Mata - who netted twice in a 4-0 win at Newcastle last season - labels a crucial month in their quest for UEFA Champions League football.
"We will need to give everything in the next games to get our goals; for a start…against Newcastle in the Premier League, and next Monday against Arsenal in the FA Cup," Mata wrote on his official blog.
"We will also play Tottenham and Liverpool in March, so it's not an exaggeration to describe this month as one of the most demanding ones this season.
"We remain in the Champions League spots, but you just need to have a look at the table to realise how close this race is going to be until the end of the season.
"We are ready for that, although all we think about is trying to win all the games left. Starting this coming Wednesday in St. James' Park, a stadium that brings back some good memories because I scored several goals there."
Mata has started just two of United's seven away games since the turn of the year, but he could be back in Louis van Gaal's thoughts after missing out at the weekend, with the Dutchman continuing to alter selections and formations frequently.
Van Gaal has no fresh injury concerns, with Robin van Persie (ankle) the only man definitely ruled out.
Newcastle laboured to Saturday's 1-0 victory over Aston Villa on home soil and John Carver has demanded a more incisive display up front against the 20-time champions.
He said after the Villa win: "I was brave going with two wingers and two strikers – there are not many head coaches or managers in the Premier League go that way, but I did it because I felt it was important to get the three points.
"We talked about getting the ball in the wide areas and putting the ball in the box because it's no good Papiss [Cisse] being the lone striker and trying to play into his feet.
"But what was disappointing was that in the first half, we didn't put the ball in the box enough, and it just shows you, the ratio: you put it in the box and he will score a goal for you, and thankfully he did."
Jack Colback serves out the remainder of his two-match ban in this game, while winger Jonas Gutierrez is back in contention after featuring on the bench against Villa for the first time since recovering from cancer.