Juan Mata
Juan Mata [Reuters]

Manchester United's Juan Mata has admitted that he feels more comfortable playing behind the striker rather than wide, claiming that his best season at Chelsea was last year as then-manager Rafa Benitez gave him freedom to shape the game as a playmaker.

Mata began his time at United in a wider role but following Robin Van Persie's injury David Moyes has let him playing in his favoured position, with the Spanish maestro producing his best United performance in the wins against West Ham United and Aston Villa.

Asked about that in an interview with Cadena Cope, Mata said: "I have been playing there in the last couple of games and I feel really comfortable as a playmaker."

"Last year I played there the whole season and was so far my best season. When I play in the flank I also try to go to the middle because I do not consider myself a real winger."

After opening his Old Trafford account by scoring the third goal in United's 4-1 victory over Aston Villa, the Spaniard in ineligible for the Champions League tie against Bayern as he already played for Chelsea in the competition earlier this season.

"It is a shame but we will try to beat Bayern. They have a great team. They have just won their league but we will try to get a good result at Old Trafford," he said.

"We are having a difficult season in the Premier League but the club is in transition. Ferguson departure was a major change and is costing a little more to get that. But I hope we can finish the season well."

Asked about his favourite to win the Premier League title he said: "It's difficult."

"Liverpool are currently leaders and I admire their style. Manchester City is the one I see most favourite because they have some games in hand and at Chelsea I have many friends and I wish them the best. I spend two fantastic seasons at Chelsea and I wish them well"

And asked who he would prefer to win between his friend David Silva and Fernando Torres, he said: "It is true that I have friends at City and Chelsea so I hope one of them wins."

Even though Mata was not in the last Spanish national squad, he still hopes to recoup a spot in the squad for the next summer World Cup.

"There is a lot of competition and it's hard. But there has always been a lot of competition. We have a fantastic generation but I'm positive. I'm in a great club, I am comfortable since I move here. I've played all the game and hopefully I can keep the streak of goals and assists."

Questioned whether he misses London lifestyle, he said: "Manchester is not so bad. I had heard not very good things about Manchester but… I am very happy. The lifestyle is different to London but this is more comfortable. There isn't so much to do as it is smaller but it is very comfortable."