MATA on Valencia and his role in AVB's Chelsea.

Juan Mata took centre stage with AVB yesterday afternoon in the pre match press conference ahead of tonight's mouth watering tie agains...

Juan Mata took centre stage with AVB yesterday afternoon in the pre match press conference ahead of tonight's mouth watering tie against Valencia in the Champions League. Just five weeks after leaving Valencia to sign for Chelsea, Mata spoke of the game and his return:

He said:
"It is going to be a very special and emotional match for me playing so soon after leaving Valencia. My priority now is to win for Chelsea. But I will try to be very respectful if I do score and not celebrate. The fact of the matter is that I was there for four years and had a wonderful time.

Everything was very positive and I had great team-mates there with whom I still keep in touch. Even though we will be rivals shortly, I am still going to do the best I can.

The Mata moved on to all things Chelsea. He was asked about the role he has in the side and said:
"It's very important for me to have confidence in the manager's ideas. We talked about the different styles that could be used. He is very much in favour of a very offensive dynamic style of play.

He has a very modern way of thinking. He has a system that he believes in and he is trying hard to implement. But once the game begins, it is the character of the players which will define the outcome.

I'm quite lucky in that I can play in different positions, so I can adapt my game and develop my own style of opponents and the position I need to play. It very much depends on the game and you have to adapt to each time you play, depending on the team-mates that you have around you and where they find themselves. It also changes if you are playing against a more closed defence or a more open team.

I think it's a case of moving around to create that space so passes can be made. You need to open up the field a bit more against some teams because they have a very closed defence. As a team looking to attack, we have to consider the importance of our wide players, especially our full-backs, [José] Bosingwa and Ashley Cole, who can open up the game to create more space for passing, which in turn creates more chances to score goals.

Little by little we are gaining confidence and adapting to the manager's idea of the way we should be playing – as a strong fast and dynamic team."
I have to say for me Mata has been a revelation ever since he signed for the club. We have been crying out for that creative player in our side for god knows how long and as each game passes, Mata is becoming more and more of an influence.

The good thing about Mata is like he says, he can play all across our forward line, just out wide or in behind the striker and really has added a new dimension to our play.

Look at Saturday for example, Swansea got men behind the ball in two banks of four defending the edge of their own box. Mata looked up, saw Torres give him the eyes and dinked a great ball into Torres for him to spin and score in the bottom corner. If that was last season we would have played another pass sideways or backwards.

Of course tonight will be an emotional game for Mata as I guess it would be for anyone leaving a club they have loved playing for in the past. I am really looking forward to Mata showing what a world class act he is tonight, setting up a couple or scoring hopefully and then getting the standing ovation from his old fans he deserves.


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