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Published: 11:51 | 21/3/16

Mata savours derby win

Manchester United can fight for a Champions League spot after securing a vital win over Manchester City.

A Marcus Rashford strike in the 16th minute proved enough for the Red Devils as they defeated City 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium to move with a point of their neighbours in the race for a top-four place.

Having failed to win any of their previous four matches, Mata was pleased with how United played at the Etihad Stadium and has urged his team-mates to saviour the victory.

"These three points are very important for all of us. The Manchester derby is one of the games shown in red in our calendar, and when you win at your rival's stadium it leaves a very good taste, but especially for the millions of fans that Manchester United has all over the world," he wrote in his weekly blog.

"The game was very intense and we took advantage of our best moments of play to seal the victory. I think we looked more experienced than in previous occasions."

After scoring against FC Midtjylland and Arsenal, Rashford enhanced his growing reputation with his goal against City, but Mata is wary about putting the youngster under undue pressure.

"In the first half the game was even but after good play, Marcus showed again that he is a great player in the making. We all believe in him although we must remember that he's still very young and he's just arrived in the first team," Mata added.

"In the second half we had some good minutes but at the end, as we expected, City pushed hard trying to level the score. However, we were able to keep the advantage and finally took the three points that put a smile on our faces before the international break. I think all of us should enjoy the good moments."

He went on: "I don't want to overlook last Thursday’s game in the Europa League, our farewell to this competition. I honestly think that we gave everything we got and we believed in the comeback, but being 1-1 at halftime made things very difficult. It was a pity because we had to pay for our bad game in the first leg, but there is nothing we can do now. It’s better to look ahead, try to win as many games as we can and have the feeling we have right now after every match. These last three points offers us an opportunity to fight for a Champions League place."

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