Di Matteo wary over Mata burnout


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The Independent Football

Juan Mata will be given a complete break at some point during the opening weeks of the season after Chelsea's manager, Roberto Di Matteo, admitted the midfielder was close to burnout.

Mata has endured a gruelling summer, following up Chelsea's Champions League triumph in May with a role in Spain's success at Euro 2012 before taking part in his country's disappointing challenge for an Olympic gold medal.

That means the playmaker has had a minimal break ahead of the new Premier League season and, while he will be part of Di Matteo's squad that travels to face Wigan Athletic tomorrow, the manager concedes the 24-year-old desperately needs some time out before his exertions catch up with him.

With a number of new faces to bed into the side, including Oscar and Eden Hazard, Di Matteo does not want to lose the services of the influential Spaniard, who was voted the club's player of the year last season at the very start of the new campaign.

But the manager conceded that an approach has been made to the Spanish Football Federation in the hope of securing Mata's release for the back-to-back round of international fixtures early next month.

Asked if there is a risk of Mata wearing himself out, Di Matteo said: "Absolutely yes. He needs to have a break. It's important. As much as the training, it's important that you have a rest, you can recharge your batteries and come back fresh. We'll plan it intelligently so that he won't be missing too much of our season."

Mata's absence would clearly be felt, particularly after Di Matteo conceded that, with Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge the only recognised strikers in his squad, he expects his midfield to provide a significant contribution to his side's goal return.

Chelsea retain an interest in Porto's Hulk and Napoli's Edinson Cavani, but will face Wigan heavily reliant on Torres to lead the attack, increasing the pressure on the supporting players, including Hazard and Oscar, who are likely to take time to acclimatise to the Premier League.

"In certain areas we are a bit light yes," Di Matteo said. In the attacking areas but the two strikers we've got are very good. Fernando has started the season very well scoring last weekend. And we need the other players to chip in."