Juan Mata is hopeful the Blues can emulate our European success of a few months ago and lift the UEFA Super Cup for the second time in our history when we take on Atletico Madrid tonight.
Manager Roberto Di Matteo was part of the Chelsea team which secured the trophy back in 1998 with a 1-0 win – in Monaco – against Real Madrid, and Mata is desperate to build on the success of last season by overcoming Diego Simeone’s men later this evening.
‘A Super Cup is a special opportunity,’ said Mata. ‘It’s a Spanish team as well, a team where I have good friends. We’d like to add this trophy to our list of achievements.
‘It’s very special, we want to win because of the team, the club. Winning the Champions League was a special moment and now we have another opportunity.’
It’s doubtful whether last season, Mata’s first at the club, could have gone any better. After helping the side secure both the FA Cup and Champions League, he was named as Chelsea’s Player of the Year.
As if that wasn’t enough, he was also part of the Spain squad which lifted the European Championship trophy in Poland and Ukraine, coming off the bench to score the fourth goal in their demolition of Italy in the final.
He has begun the current campaign in a similar manner to the way in which he finished the last one, and his link-up play with Eden Hazard has been a key factor in our three victories thus far.
Mata enjoys playing with the Belgian but stressed that, for obvious reasons, the key to success against Atletico may lay with another particular teammate.
‘Hazard is a good player, he’s fitted in very quickly,’ said the Spaniard. ‘He’s doing everything very well, has a lot of quality and can win a game on his own. We have a great understanding on the pitch already.
‘We have big rivals, Fernando [Torres] knows them very well. They have a strong team, good strikers and defenders as well as quality midfielders.’