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Manchester United must improve home form, says Mata

Britain Soccer Football - Middlesbrough v Manchester United - Premier League - The Riverside Stadium - 19/3/17 Manchester United's Juan Mata celebrates after Jesse Lingard scores their second goal Reuters / Anthony Devlin/ Livepic/ Files
Britain Soccer Football - Middlesbrough v Manchester United - Premier League - The Riverside Stadium - 19/3/17 Manchester United's Juan Mata celebrates after Jesse Lingard scores their second goal Reuters / Anthony Devlin/ Livepic/ Files

REUTERS - Manchester United have won just six times at home in the Premier League this season and midfielder Juan Mata says they must start converting draws into victories at Old Trafford if they are to finish in the top four.

United are fifth and trail fourth-place Manchester City by four points, albeit with a game in hand. United have drawn nine of their 16 home league games and collected more points on their travels than at home.

Mata hopes United's home fortunes change when they host leaders Chelsea on Sunday.

"We will fight until the end to be in the top four, and in order to do so we need mainly to get better at Old Trafford, at home," Mata wrote in his blog.

"We have an opportunity the next weekend against the leaders Chelsea. It's one of those games that everybody wants to play."

Mata might not play again this season after he underwent groin surgery last month but the Spain midfielder hopes to make a swift return.

"When you're injured you feel like time goes by very slow, that's the truth, and my week seemed longer than usual," he said.

"I hope that things keep going well and I can be back soon to enjoy what I like so much: training and playing football."

While a top-four finish secures participation in next season's Champions League, they could also get there by winning the Europa League. United travel to face Belgian side Anderlecht on Thursday in the quarter-final first leg of Europe's second-tier club competition.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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