Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata says his team can overhaul neighbours Manchester City and claim the Premier League runners-up place.

After the final international break of the season, the quest for a Champions League place continues this weekend.

Back-to-back wins against

Tottenham

and

Liverpool

have put fourth-placed United two points behind second-placed City.

“We are one point and two points from City and Arsenal and I think we can do it,” Mata told the BBC Football Focus.

“We can even be second if we win the direct games against them.”

United host strugglers Aston Villa on Saturday in a 15:00 BST kick-off, before welcoming local rivals City a week on Sunday. Arsenal visit Old Trafford in the penultimate game of United’s season on Sunday, 17 May.

Arsenal v Liverpool: Sterling in spotlight

Third-placed Arsenal host fifth-placed Liverpool

at Emirates Stadium at 12:45 BST on Saturday.

The game will be played against the backdrop of England forward

Raheem Sterling turning down a new £100,000-a-week Liverpool deal.

In an interview with BBC Sport, the 20-year-old, who has been linked with several clubs including the Gunners, said he was motivated by trophies not money.

But former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said Sterling was making a mistake over his Anfield future.

Carragher,

writing in his Daily Mail column, 

said: “Liverpool and [Brendan] Rodgers are what Sterling needs at this stage of his career. He should realise this.”

Meanwhile, manager Rodgers has confirmed Sterling will play at the Emirates and demanded a reaction from the winger against the Gunners.


“I expect Raheem to react very strongly,” said Rodgers in the

Daily Telegraph. 

“He is a strong character. He’s a young boy, still learning on and off the field, but I don’t think there is anything derogatory to Liverpool from him. I know he loves being here, loves the club and I expect him to perform at a high level.

“I expect him to go there on Saturday and perform.”

Arsene Wenger has praised top goal scorer Alexis Sanchez, who chose to join Arsenal last summer for £32m, instead of a move to Liverpool.

“At the end of the day, only Sanchez can explain to you why he has chosen us,” said Wenger. “I don’t know why he did that, but we are happy that he made that decision.

“If you look at the qualities, efficiency, work-rate, fighting spirit [he is at the] top.”

Saints and Spurs pick up European chase

Saturday also sees

Southampton face Everton at Goodison Park,

but while manager Ronald Koeman believes their Champions League hopes are over, the sixth-placed Saints could still qualify for the Europa League.

Koeman said: “Realistically the Champions League will be difficult for us because we have the distance to make up in points.

“We play eight finals now and the season so far has been fantastic. If we reach Europe, it will mean a special season for the club.”

Meanwhile seventh-placed

Tottenham face Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.