Mata insists City can still be challenged

Cape Town - Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata insists the Red Devils are still in a good position to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title.

The arch rivals are preparing for a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday when they lock horns in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford, and Mata is hoping to make the most of the opportunity to reduce the eight-point lead City enjoy over United.

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

"We would love to be first in the table right now but I think we are doing lots of good things.

"Now, especially on Sunday and during Christmas time, which we all know how difficult it is to win every single game, we need to keep that pace if we want to be in a position to challenge for the title at the end of the season. Hopefully we can do it."

United will face Bournemouth, West Brom, Leicester, Burnley, and Southampton before their first game of 2018, against Everton on January 1.

Mata added: "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'.

"It's not the best feeling but we think about the bigger picture and for us we have to keep up the pace and keep winning and winning.

"It's very difficult, especially in the Premier League.

"I remember a few seasons ago when United were ahead of City and then they won by goals. It's a crazy league and it's too early to think that it's finished.

"From City they will tell you the same."

Kick off is at 18:30.