Cesar insists Chelsea aren’t a Juan man team ahead of Newcastle trip

12:55 01 February 2013

Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea. Picture: Adam Davy/EMPICS

Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea. Picture: Adam Davy/EMPICS


Chelsea full back Cesar Azpilicueta insists that the Blues aren’t overly reliant on playmaker Juan Mata.

Juan Mata, Chelsea. Picture: Tony Marshall/EMPICSJuan Mata, Chelsea. Picture: Tony Marshall/EMPICS

The midfield maestro has been the west Londoners’ best player for the past season and a half.

When he hasn’t played, Chelsea have looked lethargic and were outplayed by Brentford in the first half before bouncing back after Mata’s introduction.

Even more notably against Reading, the Blues threw away a two-goal lead in the final three minutes to miss out on the chance of putting breathing space between them and the chasing pack of Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal.

“He’s a very good player,” Azpilicueta said. “Today he scored a goal and he did an assist.

“It’s true that he’s a very very good player.

“We have enough quality and enough players to replace him because he’s playing a lot of games.

“They give him a lot of kicks. Sometimes the manager needs to change the team.

“It’s true that with Juan it is normal that we are very happy with him.

“We are a squad of 20, 23 players. All the players will need to be involved and we need to keep working.”

Mata is a doubt for tomorrow’s trip to Newcastle and interim manager Rafael Benitez will reveal whether the Spaniard is available.

One man who will be chomping at the bit to play is Demba Ba, who left the Magpies for Stamford Bridge last month and Azpilicueta backed him to ignore any boo-boys and give his best for Chelsea.

“I don’t know how they [Newcastle fans] feel,” he added. “Demba is a Chelsea player.

“He’s going to do his best for Chelsea. It’s true that he played very well there so I think they must be disappointed because he’s a very good player.

“He’s going to be focused on the game.”

Azpilicueta also stressed the importance of bouncing back from the setback at the Madejski Stadium before the squad breaks up for a brief international break.

“We will do our recovery,” he said. “We have an important game before the international break and travel to London and after that, starting from [Thursday] to prepare for the game.”

It appears that Chelsea have lost their perceived invincibility and sides are prepared to attack them but the Spanish youth international believes that the Blues can still worry opponents.

“They’re scared when you win games in a row,” he said. “It’s true that we played a very good game [against Reading]. We had a lot of possession and chances.

“We felt that they were worried about our game. When you win, it’s true that you get more respect from other teams.”

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