Juan Mata's brace sinks Newcastle

Juan Mata of Manchester United celebrates Robin van Persie scoring their first goal during the Barcl

Juan Mata scored a brace to lift Manchester United

Juan Mata scored twice as he helped Manchester United warm up for a daunting trip to Bayern Munich with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Newcastle in the Premier League at St James’ Park.

The Spaniard curled in an exquisite free-kick to put the champions ahead six minutes before half-time and the £37.1 million January signing from Chelsea showed his class and composure with a second goal five minutes into the second half.

While Newcastle struggled to improve on a run which now reads 10 defeats from their last 15 games, an effective United looked ultra-confident just days after surprisingly drawing 1-1 with Champions League-holders Bayern at Old Trafford.

Mexican striker Javier Hernandez added a third goal with 25 minutes remaining before Mata finished a memorable afternoon with a lovely backheel to gift Adnan Januzaj a stoppage-time goal.

Manchester United manager David Moyes, was unable to call on England striker Wayne Rooney because of a toe problem but he can take his squad to Germany with extra belief for the return leg of the quarter-final with Bayern.

In December, Newcastle won at Old Trafford for the first time in 41 years. However, any hope they had of a first double over reigning English champions United since 1931 disappeared with Mata’s opener.

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The absence of Rooney and Robin van Persie, who remains sidelined with knee trouble, meant an opportunity for Hernandez, who struggled initially to find an opportunity in front of goal.

Before Ashley Young, who had to be withdrawn with a hand injury inside a quarter of an hour after a challenge in the area from left-back Massadio Haidara, was forced off he had looked most likely to create something down the right.

But Newcastle fashioned the clearer cut openings before the breakthrough.

Dan Gosling, starting a Premier League game for only the second time since moving to St James’ in 2010, had an early header fly wide, while Papiss Cisse turned a tame overhead kick straight at goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.

The Dane, a replacement for the rested David de Gea, had a far greater save to make shortly afterwards when he dived to his left to make a flying one-handed stop to turn a Cisse header over for a corner.