Juan Mata and Ander Herrera
Mata says his partnership with Herrera could be devastating.Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata says he is thriving this season alongside fellow-Spaniard Ander Herrera as Louis van Gaal's side continue their assault up the Premier league table.

Victory over Southampton was United's fifth league win in a row and puts them third, eight points behind leaders Chelsea and with designs on staging a late bid for the title.

Herrera was one of six major signings made by United in the summer and his adaptation to English football has been made all the easier by being paired with Mata in each of his eight appearances this season.

Mata only moved to Old Trafford in the last January transfer window and he says himself and Herrera have picked up where they left off in the Spain Under-21 team which won the European Championship in 2011.

"I think maybe we see the game in the same way," Mata told United's official website. "We are different players but we like to play the same way, which is to try to pass, to assist, to move and to find the gaps in the opposition defence. Ander is a great player and everyone who plays with him enjoys it."

United's recent impressive run of form included a smash-and-grab win over Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium after being under the cosh for long periods, a win that Mata says underlines the club's recent improvement.

"Yes, I think that's the point – winning a very big game, away from home, was very important," he added. "That was after winning against Crystal Palace with a late goal and then winning two games in a row at Old Trafford. The confidence has been boosted with these results.

Though Mata has endured an uncertain start to life at United since joining from Chelsea, four Premier League goals this season represents a decent start to the season and the 26-year-old is delighted with his recent goal tally.

"I have always tried to score as many goals as I can," he said. "Even though I'm not a proper striker, I have always had a good record at the end of the season with every team I have played for and right now I will try to keep scoring more."