Date: 2nd May 2013 at 5:00pm
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Stoke City v Chelsea - Premier LeagueJuan Mata has been a star for Chelsea this season, our player of the season, but believes that interim boss Rafael Benitez more credit than he’s getting for his work at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues’ season would hardly be described as a great one but they’re on the verge of their second successive European final and are looking in good shape to finish in the Premier League’s top four, which would be an improvement on last year’s domestic campaign and not all that bad considering the changes, or the ‘transition’ to borrow what is becoming a football cliché.

“Rafa’s a manager who did great seasons at every club he’s been at.

“We’re working really, really well under him. For me and the players, he’s a great manager. We are trying to be in third position and having a chance to win a trophy, so maybe the season in the end will look good for us and that will be because of his job. Maybe it’ll be a great season in the end.”

The diminutive Spaniard refused to prioritise between the Premier League and Europa League, but doesn’t see why Chelsea cannot achieve all their targets.

“I can’t choose between the Europa League and finishing in the top four.

“If we play like we’ve been playing, are all together, I think we can do both aims. I’d really like to win the Premier League next season. I think we have the players, a really good squad. It’s just we have to be consistent in the season, so why not?”

(Telegraph)

The 25-year-old also declined to comment on the speculation around Jose Mourinho in relation to Roman Abramovich’s search for a new manager, saying that the players must remain professional, see to the task in hand and not get mixed up in things that do not concern them.

If Chelsea have a strong finish to the season and fulfil their objectives then Benitez is part of it, whether you love, loath or are indifferent towards him, so perhaps Mata has a point. We’re often caught up in the man’s unpopularity but he’ll be gone in a month and I don’t think there’s any point bellyaching about it now.

It’s true that we were only two points away from the league leaders when he took over and now it’s uncertain that we will be finishing in the top four but things were slipping away from Roberto Di Matteo too and throughout the season the manager has had to contend with a squad that is unbalanced, has played more games than anyone else and we didn’t look all that fit until fairly recently.

Source: The Telegraph

Chelsea will host FC Basel tonight at 8:05pm tonight at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have a 2-1 lead over the Swiss side and will be confident of finishing the job, but Benitez may have one eye of the weekend’s clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

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