Juan Mata
Louis van Gaal handed Juan Mata a starting role against Everton Reuters

Juan Mata has claimed Manchester United's victory over Everton on Sunday 5 October was crucial for Louis van Gaal's side but admits they have still a lot of work to do.

The Premier League giants have returned to the Champions League places for the first time in more than a year after goals from new signings Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao gave them their third victory of the season.

"What an important win this weekend against Everton! And for many reasons: it is one more consecutive victory in Old Trafford; it means three points to climb to the top four of the table; winning is the best possible way to face an international break; and many other things," Mata wrote in his official weekly blog.

However, the Spanish playmaker is aware United still need to improve as they once again struggled in their attempt to secure the victory.

David De Gea saved a penalty from Leighton Baines in the first half and made a tremendous stop against a Bryan Oviedo shot in injury time to give United three points.

"It was a key game but we know there is still a long way ahead. Because we won the match but once again we suffered until the last minute and perhaps we should have controlled the game better," Mata said.

"We took the lead thanks to Angel [Di Maria] and then David [De Gea] started his amazing performance. First he saved Baines' penalty. In the second half they tied the game and later on Radamel scored.

"And then David did several extraordinary saves to keep the three points at home. What a superb performance! It seems his new haircut brought him luck...!"

With Wayne Rooney suspended and Ander Herrera on the sidelines, Mata had a starting spot in Van Gaal's line-up.

After a difficult start to life under the new manager, the Spaniard hopes their victory against Everton will inspire them to keep climbing up the league table after the international break.

"As the manager said we know we have to improve, but little by little we are climbing the table and I'm sure we will keep doing that with your support, always fantastic in Old Trafford," Mata said.

"I'm starting a new week full of energy and looking forward to keep winning games and enjoying myself on the pitch."