Latest London news, sport & entertainment

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 10°C

Five-day forecast

Rafa Benitez singles out playmaker for special praise

Chelsea's Juan Mata arrives at Griffin Park. Picture: Adam Davy/EMPICS Chelsea's Juan Mata arrives at Griffin Park. Picture: Adam Davy/EMPICS

Saturday, February 2, 2013
11:20 AM

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez hailed the influence of Blues playmaker Juan Mata.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

The Spaniard has been passed fit for tomorrow’s game with Newcastle, something that many consider to be key to their hopes.

But Benitez is delighted that goalkeeper Petr Cech is also set to return for the trip to the Magpies.

He said: “It’s not just Juan but also Petr Cech and hopefully David Luiz in the future. They are key players for us.

“Juan is, if you see the stats, doing really well so it’s important to have players that are in good form are fit.

“If we see another one doing well I’ll be really pleased because then you are not depending on one player.”

Mata was left on the bench for the first half of the 2-2 draw with Brentford, and the Blues were outplayed by the League One opponents but were the better side once the Spaniard came on.

The Spaniard was also withdrawn when Chelsea were 2-0 up against Reading and the west Londoners threw the lead away in the last three minutes.

“I can see the connection with Mata playing against Brentford as he was very influential in attack,” Benitez admitted.

“I can’t see the difference with Mata with the last ball in the last minute because he will not win in the air for sure.”

Share this article

submit to reddit submit to Fark

0 comments

Chelsea squad

Loading...

Premier League table

<a href='http://www.football-scores-live.com/'>live football scores</a>
live football scores

LDN24 Promotions

Lord's Cricket Ground

Everyone’s invited to Lord’s this summer

Lord’s will host the first ever domestic T20 group stage double-header when Sussex and Essex take on Middlesex at the Home of Cricket on Saturday, May 17.

Read full story »

Always wanted to create your own beer? Perfect Pint are giving you the chance.

WIN beer with Beer BingoTM

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

Read full story »

The Week subscription offer

The Week magazine special offer

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

Read full story »