Mata set to make United debut

The 25-year-old Spain playmaker held his first news conference as a United player on Monday.

Manchester United's record signing Juan Mata. Picture:

LONDON - Record signing Juan Mata could feature for Manchester United when the champions try to get their floundering Premier League campaign back on track against Cardiff City at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Spain playmaker held his first news conference on Monday as a United player since his $61.22 million move from Chelsea at the weekend and it was announced he would wear the number eight shirt.

Mata's signing has raised hopes of a turnaround at United who are down in seventh spot, 14 points behind leaders Arsenal and six off the Champions League places.

Manager David Moyes said Mata had trained with his new team mates and that he would decide on Tuesday whether to pick the midfielder against bottom club Cardiff.

Moyes added that injured trio Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Marouane Fellaini were back in training, raising the prospect of a four-way boost for the club.

The Scot was delighted to have bought Mata, saying he had doubts the club could pull the transfer off.

"I'm thrilled," Moyes told reporters. "I got wind of it a month or two ago that it could be a possibility and never believed we could pull it off.

"When we got the sniff there was a chance Juan could be available we went after it right away."

Mata has not played since New Year's Day, where he showed his displeasure at being substituted early in Chelsea's 3-0 win at Southampton.

The match will see former United favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer return to Old Trafford as manager of Cardiff, having replaced Malky Mackay earlier this month.

The Norwegian said he would try to keep emotion out of the occasion despite having claimed a piece of club history when he scored the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

"It's hard to say if I'll stay detached," he told The Sun newspaper. "You never know, sometimes it just catches you doesn't it, like when you do your wedding speech and stuff.

"But I'm not too much of an emotional guy so I don't think that will be a problem. I'm more professional than emotional."