Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

They are compatriots, good friends and both are surely in contention to be their respective club's player of the season, but tonight in Manchester Juan Mata and David Silva are in competition in the quest for three important points.

Something else they have in common is Fernando Torres as a team-mate, Mata of course for club and country and Silva for national team alone, and with close-up knowledge of how both his fellow Spaniards play, Torres has spoken to the official Chelsea website about similarities and differences.

One thought from the striker is clear, he is glad when he has either on the pitch with him.

'Both are key players for their teams and when they have a good day they can win the game themselves, not just scoring but by also assisting and being the main man,' Torres says.

'When a team is having a bad period in a game the other players are always looking for these kind of players who have the ability with the ball, so I am very lucky to have the chance to play with both of them in the national team but hopefully tonight it can be Juan Mata's day and not David Silva's day.

'Silva likes to have more of the ball and go deeper and be in touch with the ball,' he adds. 'Mata started playing as a striker when he was in Spain at Real Madrid, so he was maybe more of an attacking player but now he is adapting his position more to a midfielder and he is doing very well.

'They are still both young and they have time to find which position is the best for them, but with the quality they have they can play wherever.'

As Chelsea fans have seen clearly this season, Mata can operate as a wide player with licence to roam or a central one between the striker and the midfield - a no. 10 or a trequartista as it is labelled in more Mediterranean climes. Silva has been similar at Man City although with their highly successful national team the story is different.

'In Spain we have so many good players between the lines and in the middle so some of the players have to go wide like Mata and Silva, and at times [Andres] Iniesta. He has to play as a winger but with freedom to come inside.

Torres and Silva

'So with Silva in the national team he plays always as a winger so I never play with him behind, whereas now Mata at Chelsea is playing behind the striker and for a striker it is very good to have a player like this between the lines. You know they have the ability to be clear to pass the final ball to you in front of the keeper.'

Torres's move from Madrid to the Premier League came three years before Silva and four years before Mata both made the journey north from Valencia. Despite English football's physical reputation, he was in no doubt the two diminutive playmakers would be a success.

'You always need in your team players like this. You cannot play with 11 players who are just strong. For players like Mata and Silva it is very easy to adapt to the English football but at the end of the season they are going to find that they will be tired and fatigued, because it is very hard to play here.

'But I knew both of them would do really well here. These kind of players are different to the players you see here and they can make the difference.'