Juan Mata believes he can enjoy his best ever season at Chelsea - but admits 'I have to adapt'
Jose Mourinho has used the Spanish playmaker sparingly this season
Wednesday 02 October 2013
Midfielder Juan Mata hopes to have his best season yet in Chelsea blue despite beginning the campaign on the periphery under Jose Mourinho.
Spain playmaker Mata has won the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League and been named Chelsea's player of the year in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Yet still the World Cup winner has had to prove himself under Mourinho, who has demanded the forward makes a defensive contribution.
Mata put speculation over his future to one side to impress the self-proclaimed 'Special One' and has been happy to adapt to Mourinho's methods.
"I just keep going, train well and prepare for every game," Mata said on http://www.chelseafc.com.
"I just have to do my best in training and in games. It's important to play with the ball and without the ball, but I'm very happy and looking forward to playing a lot of games throughout the season.
"I try to improve every season, my first and second seasons were fantastic but I want this one to be even better so I will try to improve, score goals, assist and do what I have to do.
"I'm not the kind of man that gets down. I always believe in myself and train really hard. This is my way to behave, to be positive as much as I can.
"I have really enjoyed playing for this club in the last two seasons. I know what I can give to the team and I'm just trying to do that.
"I have to do this (to adapt to Mourinho's instructions). I try to do my best in every game and I think I'm doing that."
Mata, deployed in his favoured number 10 playmaker role, was influential in Chelsea's 4-0 Champions League win at Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday night which revived the Blues' Group E hopes following the opening-round loss to Basle.
The 25-year-old is now targeting the successive matches against pool leaders Schalke as Chelsea seek to finish top of the group.
"We have two games in a row against Schalke and we will try to win all six points," Mata said.
"It's going to be difficult. They are top of the group right now, but if we do it we will be in a good position to qualify.
"We have qualification in our hands. We needed to make up for the last game and we did that. Now the story continues and we have to keep winning game after game and finish top."
The triumph under the roof at the National Arena was Chelsea's second away win of the season, following the Capital One Cup success at Swindon.
The Blues will target a third on Sunday at Norwich in the Barclays Premier League and Mata is confident of further improvement from the team.
"I'm sure the best is still to come from the team," he added.
"We have a good young squad and we have signed young players this season. We will get even better in the future.
"The last few games have been good and we are building momentum. I think it's normal that we needed time (to adapt to the new manager), but we are doing that.
"Now we have to keep going and take advantage of this victory, to keep winning."
The one sour note in Bucharest was the knee injury sustained by striker Fernando Torres, who hours earlier had escaped censure from the Football Association for his altercation with Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen in last Saturday's London derby.
Torres will miss the Norwich match through suspension, anyway, after he received two yellow cards at White Hart Lane and Mourinho has ruled out the striker from joining up with Spain for the international break due to the injury.
"He was so unlucky," Mata said.
"He played really well against Tottenham the other day. He started against Steaua and was trying to score again to show how good he is, but he got injured.
"I hope he gets well soon for me, for him and the team because I think he is going to be a very important player for us."
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