Juan Mata says Chelsea players are behind Rafael Benitez

 

Juan Mata insists Chelsea's players are fully behind Rafael Benitez's mini-revolution.

Blues playmaker Mata denied Benitez's status as 'interim' manager until the end of the season had fatally compromised his authority, despite the former Liverpool boss experiencing a nightmarish start to life at Stamford Bridge.

Benitez has not won any of his first three matches in charge, failing to quell a massive supporter revolt against his appointment and sparking speculation his days could already be numbered.

But no unrest has seeped into the playing squad, according to fellow Spaniard Mata, who is desperate to improve on a run of just two wins from 11 games in tomorrow's Champions League clash with Nordsjaelland.

"We are trusting him because Rafa wants the best for the team," Mata said.

"If we want to win the Club World Cup, or the Premier League or the other competitions, we have to do better.

"Rafa is a very experienced manager and he's trying to help us. We're trying to help him."

Mata also insisted Chelsea's players had not been cowed by the jeers and abuse that have dogged Benitez's short reign.

"I'm not deaf, so we were aware," he said of the fan backlash.

"The supporters are free to do whatever they want. My job, our job, is to play well and to win. That's all I care about."

The 24-year-old added: "I always try to be focused on what I'm doing, nothing else.

"If we want to win, if we want to lift trophies this season, we have to be all together, fight as a unit in the team."

Mata also declared there was no point Chelsea's players bemoaning owner Roman Abramovich's hiring-and-firing policy, which sees the Spain midfielder serving under his third manager in nine months.

"The players have to be professional and work no matter who the manager is of the team," he said.

"We have an owner. We have people who are working, trying to do their best for this club and, as a player, I just have to work with the manager we have now.

"Now it's Rafa."

Mata admitted Chelsea "need a victory" under their new boss, starting tomorrow night.

In fact, they also require Shakhtar Donetsk to beat Juventus to avoid becoming the first Champions League holders to crash out of the competition before Christmas.

Mata denied an early exit would sully the memory of the club's astonishing European Cup final triumph that came only six-and-a-half months ago.

He said: "I think the memories of Munich are still present for us, and for the club, because they are so recent - just six months ago.

"I still believe we are going to get through because we can win and so can Shakhtar. I want to think in a positive way."

Mata admitted two wins from their five Group E games was not good enough.

"Obviously, we are in this moment arriving in a bad position in this game because we didn't do well enough," he said, struggling to rationalise a collapse by a side riding high at the top of the Barclays Premier League six-and-a-half weeks ago.

He also denied Chelsea lacked leaders in the absence of the injured John Terry and Frank Lampard but acknowledged they needed such "legends" back.

PA

News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Life and Style
fashionLidl to launch a new affordable fashion range
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment