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Mata: United players have grasped Van Gaal's methods

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata believes his team-mates are finally getting used to manager Louis van Gaal and his training methods.

Van Gaal took over from David Moyes last season and there were teething issues early as the Dutchman implemented a strict and detailed workload.

But after finishing fourth in the Premier League in 2014-15, United are now legitimate title contenders behind rivals Manchester City, whose lead at the summit is only two points.

Mata feels United's players are on the same page as Van Gaal and it is proving beneficial, despite recent reports of discontent among the squad.

"Every manager has his own way to work and obviously with him it's different than with any other manager," Mata told the Mirror ahead of Saturday's hosting of strugglers Sunderland.

"He said when he arrived it was going to be difficult, especially at the beginning. But I think it is about time and getting used to his technical way of working – the number of meetings, the training and the games.

"But this is our second year with him so it's normal and logical that we're understanding each other better – not just with him, but as a team on the pitch.

"We've been playing together more time than last season, so it's normal we're playing good football and that's what we want to do this season – improve again."