Mata got on the scoresheet as United continued their recent revival after an??indifferent start to the campaign, and in spite of a lengthy injury list, by??overcoming Stoke 2-1 on Tuesday.
The victory was United’s fourth in succession in the Premier League??and maintained their position in the top four.??The second win in that sequence was a hard-fought 2-0 success at Arsenal and??Mata feels things had started to build from there.
“It was very important to win at Arsenal and then to get two wins in a row at??home,” Mata said.??”Now we have the chance to have a great December – probably the most important??month in the league because we play more games.”
The Stoke clash was United’s first home night game of the season, a??notable fixture quirk that also highlights their lack of European football this??term.
The gap between fixtures shrinks now, though, with six more games to be played??up to and including New Year’s Day.
United will be tested at third-placed Southampton next Monday and then by??Liverpool the following weekend, but Mata believes the team spirit, much??maligned last season, is starting to shine through.
The 26-year-old Spaniard said: “The spirit is there. We have not been lucky??with injuries, we’ve had important players that could not play, but the spirit??is there.
“Everyone was very happy in the dressing room after the game because it was a??difficult game and we showed character.”
Mata looked to have scored in the 2-1 win over Stoke, but Marcos Rojo claimed to have got a touch on the 59th minute free kick.
David de Gea also featured strongly in United’s victory, producing a brilliant reflex save to keep out a Mame Biram??Diouf header. He then denied Marko Arnautovic from point-blank range and the??rebound attempt from Diouf was hacked off the line by Ashley Young.
Mata said: “It was very tough and we were, until the last minute, suffering.??They played good in their way. They came here as a very compact team and they??play good counter-attacks.??At the end, it’s a very important win, a fourth win in a row and we are??getting closer.”