Juan Mata plotting Watford revenge mission as Man Utd eye top four spot

Juan Mata is determined to make amends for Manchester United's most chastening loss of the season when Watford arrive at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Things were looking up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as they headed to Vicarage Road just before Christmas, having recently secured impressive Premier League victories against Tottenham and Manchester City.

But things went awry in spectacular fashion in Hertfordshire as Nigel Pearson's first match as Watford boss ended in a surprise 2-0 win.

David De Gea's gaffe allowed Ismaila Sarr to score a second-half opener that Troy Deeney quickly compounded from the spot after a poor Aaron Wan-Bissaka lunge – a day that still rankles at Old Trafford.

"Yeah, that wasn't a very good day for us… neither the performance nor the result," United midfielder Mata said.

"They have been doing well under their new manager. I always thought they had a very strong team physically and they are difficult to beat.

"So it will be tough but hopefully we can get a good result and from there build until the end of the season."

Mata came on in the 72nd minute at Vicarage Road, where then rock-bottom Watford had been there for the taking during a nervy first half.

The Spaniard has called for a stronger start when the sides resume battle on Sunday as United look to step up their top-four tilt on the back of Monday's win at rivals Chelsea.

"It's always important to score early if you can because then the game goes more into your direction," Mata told United Review.

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