Juan Mata eager for more after scoring winning goal for Chelsea

Spaniard scored only goal in victory over Norwich

Juan Mata celebrated a landmark game and goal in his Chelsea career before declaring he was hungry for even more.

Yesterday's 1-0 win at Norwich was Spain forward Mata's 50th appearance in the Barclays Premier League and came less than a season and a half after he joined the Blues.

Carrow Road also witnessed his 13th goal in all competitions this term, already bettering his tally from the whole of the last campaign.

Rarely has a foreign player made such a seamless adjustment to English football as former Valencia star Mata, who has enjoyed the unwavering confidence of all three Chelsea managers he has played under.

Last season, he featured in 34 of Chelsea's 38 league games, while this term he has played a part in 16 of 18.

But despite his 50 matches being the most of any outfield player at the club over the same period, Mata had no intention of allowing his team-mates to catch him up.

"I want to play more, I want to keep playing, keep training, keep enjoying this club and this Premier League," he told Chelsea TV.

Modestly describing his goals tally as "not bad", he added: "I'm very happy with how it's going - the season - for me and for the team and I just have to keep working."

When Mata works, almost invariably so do Chelsea.

His six goals in eight games have co-incided with the club's revival under interim boss Rafael Benitez.

Mata's dip in form before that also tallied with the Chelsea slump that saw Roberto Di Matteo sacked.

Indeed, the club were becoming too reliant on Mata's goals and assists under Di Matteo and it is crucial they do not fall into the same trap again.

Benitez appears to recognise the need to spread the load around the team, his decision to move David Luiz from defence into midfield once again proving inspired yesterday.

Mata said of the Brazilian's transformation: "I'm not surprised.

"I know that he's a very, very good player, top player.

"He's able to play in different positions, at centre-back, in midfield.

"He's a complete football player."

Mata stressed the importance of Chelsea keeping a clean sheet yesterday in what was only their second 1-0 win of the season.

"Our four defenders were really good," he said.

"All the team played like a compact team, like Rafa wanted."

He added of his goal: "The most important thing is that it was the winning goal."

That winner saw Chelsea close to within four points of second-placed Manchester City with a game in hand, while remaining 11 behind runaway leaders Manchester United.

Mata said: "These three points gave to us a lot of confidence to be closer to the Manchester clubs."

Norwich boss Chris Hughton was also upbeat after his side reached the halfway point of the season comfortably in midtable, 10 points clear of danger.

Two straight defeats have done little damage following a 10-game unbeaten run that left the Canaries on 25 points.

Hughton said: "If you had offered that to me at the start of the season then certainly I would have taken it.

"You only have to look at this Barclays Premier League week in, week out and see some of the results and I think that emphasises the good run we went on."

Hughton refused to set a points target for his side but challenged them to avoid starting the second half of the season as they began the first.

"We started slowly and then went on a good run," he said.

"We have a bit of momentum at the moment and we know what we have to do to get the points we need.

"It is a big ask because of the quality of this division and the big teams and good players you are up against.

"But I think we know what to do to get the points and we have got to replicate more of that in the second half of the season."

Faltering champions City are up next and Hughton added: "What we have to do is make sure we are right in it on Saturday.

"If we are right in it, it gives us a chance."

PA

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup