Rafa Benitez singles out playmaker for special praise

11:20 02 February 2013


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


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

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The Spaniard was also withdrawn when Chelsea were 2-0 up against Reading and the west Londoners threw the lead away in the last three minutes.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

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest Chelsea news

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Manuel Lanzini of West Ham United and John Stones of Everton  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

All the latest stories from around London on Sunday morning.

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Belgian Nacer Chadli of Tottenham calls many compatriots neighbours in north London

Erik Lamela will be involved against Chelsea on Sunday lunchtime but Tottenham are without a string of midfielders.

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Harry Kane celebrates his second goal against West Ham on Sunday (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Spurs v Chelsea is always an exciting game and hopefully today will be no different.

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Jose Mourinho of Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino of Spurs on the touchline (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino still expects Chelsea to challenge for the top four this season.

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham have the squad to cope with the chase for both domestic and European glory.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Read more

Latest Tech News