Juan Mata
Juan Mata has scored three goals this season. Getty

Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata says he will continue to work to become a first-choice regular on the team sheet for his manager Louis van Gaal.

The Spaniard has only started seven games in the first eleven Premier League games of the campaign, and is the joint top scorer with three goals alongside Angel Di Maria, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

After being benched against West ham earlier in the season, Mata regained his place in the line-up during Rooney's absence due to suspension but fell out of favour with the manager again for the last two games against Manchester City and Crystal Palace.

However he came on in the second half against the south London side to secure the three points with the only goal of the game.

When asked about his in-out appearances, Mata told Cadena Cope: "The manager, like in every team, is the one who decides who plays. And what we have to do is what I did against Palace --- seize every opportunity and try to help the team. Luckily on Saturday my goal was worth three points.

"It was an explosion of joy because the game was difficult, because we came away from several games without a victory and (the goal) was important. I'm very happy."

Manchester United have had a lacklustre start to the life under the Dutch boss, securing just 16 points from the first eleven first Premier League games – while being also knocked out in the Capital One Cup by MK Dons.

"It is being a season with good results and some less good but we have a good taste from last game," said Mata. "There have been a host of circumstances. We have not had all the players available (due to injuries), some unlucky mistakes ... things have not gone as we wanted but hopefully the victory against Palace is a turning point in the season and we start to win more regularly."

When asked whether United still can win the Premier League, with Chelsea 13 points ahead, he said: "It's complicated."

"The target of the club, as the coach himself said, is to secure the Champions League qualification. Last year we did not get it and this year we have to."