Juan Mata is out to show Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho he made a major mistake letting him go.
Mata returns to Chelsea on Saturday for the first time since Mourinho sanctioned his £37.5million move to Manchester United 15 months ago.
Spain midfielder Mata has been in inspired form for United, scoring three goals in as many games to help Louis van Gaal’s side to six straight wins in the Premier League.
United can move to within five points of league leaders Chelsea with a seventh successive win, with Mata confident they can do that to blow the title race wide open.
Mata has extra motivation to beat Chelsea, after Mourinho deemed him surplus to requirements last January and decided to offloaded him to United.
Although Mata said he has great memories of his time at Chelsea, where he won the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League, he will be out to prove a point to Mourinho.
Mata, who scored in United’s 4-2 derby win over Manchester City last weekend, said: “We are already thinking about our next ‘final’ – a visit to the leaders of the Premier League.
“Needless to say that it’s going to be a very special game for me. I already played against Chelsea in the first half of the championship, but going back to Stamford Bridge for the first time will bring me plenty of good memories.
“The day I arrived to this great club [United] I wrote, ‘Gratitude is the memory of the heart’ – and I keep thinking the same.
“At that time I had the chance to thank everybody who helped me in London during those two-and-a-half-years.
“It will be nice to meet former team-mates, fans and friends. I keep good memories of them and I wish them the best.
“But obviously, our intention is to get the three points again and we will try from the kick-off until the final whistle.
“The best thing is that we go to this game in a very good moment, with confidence, but we are aware that we must perform at our best level if we want to beat Chelsea.”
Robin van Persie, who has been missing since February 21 after picking up an ankle injury in a defeat at Swansea, is expected to to named in United’s travelling squad.