Having recently been recalled to the Spain squad, Juan Mata heads into Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich City full of confidence, and the Blues playmaker is confident the team can maintain our recent run of form.
Having sat out our 2-0 win against Fulham a fortnight ago, Jose Mourinho handed Mata a start three days later in the Capital One Cup against Swindon Town, where he impressed throughout.
His introduction as a half-time substitute against Tottenham last week helped alter the flow of the contest in our favour, which was followed by another solid performance against Steaua Bucharest in midweek, resulting in Vicente del Bosque calling on his services once again.
‘I’m happy to play, I’m happy with how I played in the last three games and I’m happy with how the team played,’ says Mata.
‘I just try to do my best in every game and do everything I can in order to help the team. That’s what I’ve been doing and I’m feeling good.
‘I’m really pleased to be back in the Spain squad and, obviously with the national team, my target is to play in the World Cup.’
It’s been a tough start to our league campaign on the road, with matches against Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham preceding Sunday’s encounter at Carrow Road.
While the draws secured at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane will certainly be seen as positive results, Mata, who scored the only goal of the game in last season’s win at Norwich, stressed the importance of securing our first three points of the season away from home.
‘I think we’re in a good moment after the last three games,’ he says. ‘We won two of them and drew against Tottenham after playing really well in the second half, so now we have to keep going and build on that before the international break.
‘We need our first away league win as soon as possible. If we want to fight for the title you need to win your home games but also pick points up away as well. Obviously when you play away it’s difficult, especially against teams like Norwich who are very good at home, but we’re good enough to do it.
‘We won 1-0 on Boxing Day there last season, I scored and I think we played really well, particularly in the first half. Now we are full of confidence and we believe we can go there and win again.’
The display against Steaua, our most complete performance of the season so far, will be remembered for our ruthlessness in front of goal, but the most pleasing aspect according to Mata was the consistency of our play, and he hopes we can produce a similar performance against Chris Hughton’s side.
‘I remember that we beat Hull City on the opening day and we played well in the first half but not so well in the second,’ Mata says. ‘But against Steaua on Tuesday the team played very well in both halves. It’s really important to perform for the whole 90 minutes and stay focused and hopefully we can do it again against Norwich.’
You can listen to Chelsea TV’s live commentary of our game against Norwich City on Sunday from 1.30pm.