Juan Mata was part of a much-improved Chelsea performance after half-time at Tottenham and he spoke afterwards about the 1-1 draw.
The Spaniard was introduced at the interval as a replacement for John Mikel Obi, with Jose Mourinho asking Ramires to drop deeper and Mata playing predominantly wide on the right, and it was his free-kick John Terry headed in for our first away league goal of the season and the equaliser following Spurs’ first-half opener.
Mata’s contribution at White Hart Lane, following on from his midweek performance in the cup match at Swindon, led Mourinho to announce after yesterday’s game that the player would start away to Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday.
‘Obviously everyone wants to play but as I said last week, I am a professional, I respect all of my team mates and what I want to do is enjoy it on the pitch, and I think against Tottenham I did that,’ Mata said.
‘We needed to improve and we tried to, and when I came on I just tried to give my best for the team. It is what I did since I came and it is what I am going to do until the end. I am happy with the second half, but it wasn’t enough to win.
‘Last season we won here and this season we wanted to win again, it wasn’t possible but the team showed that we can fight until the end.’
Having levelled the score and gone close to taking the lead, Chelsea’s task became a lot harder following the sending-off of Fernando Torres.
‘I don’t know [about the red card] but Fernando is not a player who goes to hurt,’ said Mata.
‘In the first half we had some problems, in the second half we had chances to score more goals but at the end we played 10 minutes with 10 players which is very difficult against Tottenham, but we kept compact and we fought until the end to get this point.
‘It was a tough game so I think a point is not bad from here, and maybe they played better the first half and we played better the second half.’