Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata has revealed that he’ll turn to Antonio Valencia for the secret behind beating CSKA Moscow in the Champions League this week.
Valencia scored the winning goal when United last travelled to the Luzhniki Stadium, back in October 2009, as the Red Devils secured a 1-0 victory in the Russian capital.
With three points sealed from their opening two Champions League matches this term, United can ill-afford to slip up on Wednesday night - but Mata is acutely aware that his side have a difficult night ahead of them.
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The Spain international writes in his latest Kicca blog: “I’ve been told that Antonio Valencia scored the winner for United the last time the team visited CSKA, so we will ask him for the secret to beat them because they haven't lost at home this season, both in the group stage and in the previous rounds.”
Indeed, Mata is correct. CSKA have played 12 matches in the Russian Premier League this season, winning on 10 occasions and drawing twice - leaving them five points clear of rivals Lokomotiv Moscow at the top of the table.
Video: Antonio Valencia's goal v CSKA Moscow
Momentum important ahead of Manchester derby
With temperatures set to be around the freezing mark in Moscow on Wednesday night, United could easily suffer defeat unless they’re both physically and mentally prepared for the challenge that awaits them.
Louis van Gaal’s side, however, head into Wednesday night’s match off the back of arguably their most impressive performance of the season so far - a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
It was the perfect response after their embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium before the international break - and they will now be intent on keeping up the momentum, ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby, by securing all three points in Russia.
Manchester United fans: do you fancy your side to win on Wednesday night? Post your score predictions - and goalscorers - in the comments below!
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