MATA: TIME TO CHANGE

Posted on: Tue 04 Dec 2012

Juan Mata says the players are determined to give Rafael Benitez his first win in charge when the Blues take on Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night, and he harbours hopes Shakhtar Donetsk can aid our qualification quest too.

Speaking before the final matches in our group, Mata cited his experience of the Ukraine club's Donbass Arena, and believes it can be a major disadvantage for the visitors there, Juventus, who must avoid defeat to deny Chelsea a place in the last 16.

'I think we will have a chance to go through. First of all we have to do our job, which is to win,' said the Spaniard.

'Hopefully Shakhtar will win against Juventus. They won against us, for example. It's not easy to play in their stadium; it's got a hard atmosphere. I still believe that we will have the chance to get through.'

While having confidence Shakhtar will play their part, the midfielder urges his teammates not to underestimate our Danish opponents.

'It's not going to be easy, even playing against a team we beat 4-0 in the first game. They always play good football and they have a lot of possession in all their games.

'We know the most important thing we need at this moment is to win and hopefully it will be tomorrow. We are training really hard to improve some things and just trying to be focused in every game. Now we have the Champions League, after that the Premier League away and then the next week we have the Club World Cup in Japan, so we have so many games now, and we are just trying to be ready for them.'

Mata reveals training has changed under Benitez, although working with the ball remains the primary method.

'We are trying to change some things tactically,' he adds. 'We are doing set pieces in a different way, but I think Rafa and Robbie [Di Matteo], both of them are of course top managers.

'When you change your manager it is because things are not going good, so it's not a good news, never, but as a player I always try to work as well as I can, no matter who the manager is.

'Now it's Rafa. He's a very experienced manager, and he is trying to help us and we are trying to help him. We are all with him, we are all working hard with him and to win things we have to be as a unit - all the club, the supporters, the team, everyone.'

Mata admits a drop in confidence throughout the team is a factor in results in the past month not matching those in the early part of the season, but he also points out it can very readily be reversed.

'In a long season when you are playing a lot of games, you have good and bad moments. In the beginning of the season we won so many games consecutively and now we have some time without winning, and hopefully tomorrow we can win and it's going to be a change for us. It's going to be a step up in confidence in the next weeks.'