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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Juan Mata excited about new era

Juan Mata feels he will be well suited to Louis van Gaal's style of play as he looks forward to a bright new era at Manchester United.

Mata moved to Old Trafford in January as David Moyes attempted to inspire a revival after a difficult start to the season, but the Spain international was unable to bring about an upturn in fortunes and the Scot was dismissed in April.

United eventually finished 22 points behind champions Manchester City but, despite his disappointing start to life at United, Mata is confident United will be able to challenge for trophies again under Van Gaal.

"It's the start of a new era for the club, with a new manager and players coming in," he told MUTV. "I'm really happy with the manager's style of football and hopefully at the end of the season we can celebrate something, which would be amazing for him and for us.

"We're focused on improving and trying to learn from the manager, to play at our best level during the season. The main idea is to play as a team and compete for titles."

Van Gaal has finally taken charge of his squad after leading Netherlands to third place at this summer's World Cup and will take oversee his first match on Wednesday when United face Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Juan Mata is taking part in United's preseason preparations in Los Angeles.

The Dutchman has been leading intense double-training sessions in LA and, with Spain having been eliminated at the group stage during the World Cup, Mata is playing a full part in the preparations.

"It will be a different preseason for me because in the last six or seven years I've always had a tournament with the national team and haven't had a complete preseason with my team," he said.

"So this time I will do the whole tour of the States, which is good for me to prepare for a long and hard season. This is my first preseason with United and I'm enjoying it -- the journey was good, the hotel is nice and the training ground is great."

He added: "The most important thing is to get ready, step by step, and not too hard because injuries can happen. It's important for us to prepare physically and mentally for the long season."

After the game against the Galaxy, United will head to Denver, where they play Roma in the International Champions Cup.

Further matches against Inter Milan in Washington and Real Madrid in Michigan follow, as well as a potential final against City, Liverpool, Olympiakos or AC Milan in Miami should United top their group.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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