Manchester United star Juan Mata wants to return from a groin injury for the second leg of the Europa League quarter-final clash against Anderlecht on 20 April.

The Spain international underwent a hernia operation prior to the Red Devils' draw against West Bromwich Albion. United settled for a point in their last two league matches against the Baggies and Everton. Mata missed those two fixtures and it was earlier reported the playmaker could miss the remainder of the season.

According to the Telegraph, the 28-year-old can still feature for United in the ongoing campaign and Mata is targeting the Europa League home tie against the Belgian outfit to make a comeback from the injury, if he does not suffer further setbacks on his road to recovery.

Should Mata be fit to face Anderlecht at Old Trafford, he will miss the next three fixtures of the 20-time English champions. This includes a trip to Belgium for the first leg of the European competition that is sandwiched between the league ties against Sunderland and Chelsea.

United's chances of winning the league is all but over and they are focusing on qualifying for the next season's Champions League. They are currently fifth in the table with 54 points after 29 games and can make it to Europe's elite club competition by either finishing in the top four or winning the Europa League.

The former Chelsea star is ready to return to action in order to help United, even if it means that he has to play with some discomfort. Mata has his eyes on returning to the pitch in order to help the team as he thanked fans for their wishes following the surgery.

"As you can imagine, I'm writing this post in not the best possible situation, but first of all I'd like to thank you for all your messages of encouragement during the last few days," Mata wrote in his personal blog, One Hour Behind.

"This situation is new for me, after having surgery this week, but I feel positive and I'm looking forward to getting well and trying to help the team. Besides, right now your messages of support are like an extra power for me."

Mata's potential comeback from injury later this month will be a massive boost for Jose Mourinho, who is already without the services of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones due to "long-term" injuries. In addition to this, the Portuguese tactician confirmed Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young's injury setback after Everton tie as the star duo join Mata and two central defenders at United's treatment room.

Juan Mata
Juan Mata underwent a groin surgery on 31 March Getty