Manchester United vs Manchester City: Mata warns rivals ahead of derby clash

GETTY    
   Romelu Lukaku has scored just once in his last 12 games for Manchester United

And he has told City that United are ready to take advantage of any slip-ups - starting with Sunday's clash at Old Trafford.

"Hopefully, first of all, it's a great game of football and, secondly, we can win".

France global Pogba, though, will miss the match as he begins a three-game suspension following his red card at Arsenal last weekend, and while Mata would have preferred the playmaker be part of the day, he remains confident of his other team-mates abilities. "We'll try to show on Sunday that we can play very good football and we can win the three points", said Mata of his opponent on Sunday.

"We are doing what we have to do", said Mata, as quoted by theEvening Standard.

Rumours sparked of friction between the pair and led to suggestions that Mata would be cast out when Mourinho took the reins at United, but the Spaniard has denied suggestions that they didn't get on.

Despite insisting there's no bad blood between them, Mata admits that he was frustrated when he was hauled off in last season's Community Shield, half an hour after coming on.

GETTY    
     Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in contention for United after recovering from a knee injury
GETTY Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in contention for United after recovering from a knee injury

"I don't think they do [believe the title race is over] and if they do I don't think they really believe it".

Mata said City can not afford any slip ups as United look to give them a bloody nose in the derby and consequently overtake them in the table log. "We have just started December and December is a crucial month with a lot of games.

I remember a few seasons ago (in 2011-12) when United were ahead of City by eight points and then City won on goal difference".

"If we arrive in a position where we want to be in February or March then we can think about "we won on Saturday and they won on Sunday".

If you're a neutral and you're rooting for history and the opportunity to observe elite dominance, then you must be supporting the visitors, City. We need to look at the bigger picture. It's a insane league and it's too early to think that it's finished. They're scoring nice goals, but I think we're doing our bit as well. "When you play teams like Watford, Stoke [City], West Ham [United] it's very hard to win every game and we need to be ready if they drop points". "Hopefully we can do it".

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