MATA: IT'S LIKE A FINAL

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

After grinding out victory against Stoke on Saturday, Juan Mata says we must take momentum into Wednesday's game with Napoli and press the Italians from the first minute.

We overcame a very different opposition from Walter Mazzarri's stylish counter-attackers on Saturday, as Stoke packed men behind the ball having been reduced to 10 following Ricardo Fuller's early red card, but Mata sees no reason why we cannot triumph in a strong atmosphere at Stamford Bridge.

Looking back to Saturday, where as a first-half substitute he created Didier Drogba's winner, Mata said: 'It was a very important victory for us, an important three points to continue towards the Champions League post. It was a tough game, they had a lot of tall, strong players but finally we achieved the three points and that's the most important thing.

'It wasn't easy because as you know we had a big change but I think the team is still believing and working very well, and these two wins bring a lot of confidence.'

We now have 48 hours to prepare for Napoli, and Mata is determined to make life difficult for the Italians.

'Wednesday is like a final and we have to win at least 2-0, I think we can do it, we are confident after Saturday and we will try to give 100 per cent to qualify,' said the Spaniard.

'In football nothing is impossible and at Stamford Bridge we have had good results in the Champions League, so I think we can do it. All the supporters will be cheering us, it's a final for us, and we can do it.

'From the first minute we have to try to create chances to score. We know they have very good strikers and we have to be careful with them, but we will press from the first minute.'

It was Mata's away goal that put us in front in the Stadio San Paolo three weeks ago, a strike which gives us hope of completing a famous comeback to take us into the last eight. Having been rested from the start on Saturday, it is most likely we will see the diminutive number 10 from the start on Wednesday.

Standard tickets for the match against Napoli are sold out but next Sunday's FA Cup match at home to Leicester is on general sale, £30 adults and £15 seniors and juniors.

Click for info on hospitality packages for the Napoli game.