PREMIER LEAGUE

Mata boosts United’s Champions League ambitions

Juan Mata said all that mattered to Manchester United on Saturday was winning - his goal sealed a 1-0 victory away to Norwich City in the Premier League.

Mata boosts United’s Champions League ambitions
Tom Purslow Man Utd via Getty Images

Juan Mata said all that mattered to Manchester United on Saturday was winning after his goal sealed a 1-0 victory away to Norwich City in the Premier League.

Victory saw United close to within a point of fourth-placed local rivals Manchester City, who play Arsenal, currently in third position, on Sunday.

United could yet finish a difficult season by winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the Champions League. They had to wait until the 72nd minute for Mata to score the only goal of the game at Carrow Road, the midfielder slotted in at the back post following a mistake by home defender Sebastien Bassong; later he told BT Sport: “We needed to win and have to win our three games then see what Manchester City and Arsenal do. We controlled the game and had more chances to score goals. Today was about winning. We want to play and create chances but we won the game. We do everything for the fans. They have had a difficult season but deserve happiness.”

Saturday's result left Norwich, without a win or a goal in their last four league games, second-from-bottom in the table and in a desperate fight to preserve their Premier League status. “It has been the story of our season,' said Norwich manager Alex Neil, whose side may now have to rely on relegation rivals Sunderland and Newcastle United if they are to stay in the English top flight. There were not many chances in the game and we kept Manchester United at bay,' added Neil. 'When you gift goals and make errors, it was not going to be enough. It looks a lot difficult now and we have to rely on Newcastle and Sunderland to lose games. We have to keep fighting. We have to stop making errors but it is a bit late in the day.”