'Chelsea is always a special game for me'
Juan Mata is an impressive guy, on and off the pitch! His thoughts on facing ex-club Chelsea are worth a watch...
What’s your opinion on Chelsea this season and this weekend’s big game? JM: It’s always a special game for me against Chelsea and it will be tough. They are doing good. They have a new manager and they play with more or less the same players but in a certain style. They’re getting points and getting results, so it’s going to be tough, but hopefully we can build from that comeback against Newcastle and we can keep going with a good run of results, so yeah, let’s hope we can have a good weekend. It’s surprising to many their early form, given that they’ve got a new coach in with the same group of players. Are you surprised with how well they have gelled early on? JM: Well I always believe they have a good team, a good squad and they have a squad full of quality players, experienced players. They have players like Hazard, Willian, Pedro, Cesc Fabregas, they signed Jorginho which fits perfectly with Sarri’s style, so I’m not surprised with the way they are playing, because I think they have the players to play like that. And friends of yours still play at Chelsea. Who do you keep in contact with? JM: Yeah, many people from the backroom staff and from players, Cesar Azpilicueta is a very good friend from the time I was playing there, David Luiz is still there, Willian’s still there, Eden Hazard who is a good friend, Cahill, so there’s still some players there. And Cesar Azpilicueta, famously nicknamed Dave. Why Dave? JM: I just think it’s easier and shorter and it’s very difficult even for me as a Spanish to say Azpilicueta, so I think for English people it’s better to call him Dave. Dave works for us! Final thoughts on you then. How important is it to go there and perform to your maximum and try and get a good result? JM: Yeah, really important again. As I said it’s going to be difficult. Stamford Bridge is a difficult stadium, but we have to try to keep going with the amazing 20-25 or even 45 minutes that we did against Newcastle. Second half I think was very, very good and we try to build from there, try to play our game, try to win and then think about the next fixtures, but yeah, it’s going to be personally a special game for me. I will see a lot of friends and hopefully I come back and we can come back to Manchester with three points.