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How will Mourinho use Mata in the CL?

How will Mourinho use Mata in the CL?

Well, I just want to share a few thoughts of mine and want to see the opinions of all the fans.

Juan Mata has been our best player in the last two seasons. He's been consistent and he has carried his team on his shoulders. He has the best of stats when it comes to all the domestic competitions. But to establish ourselves as a top force, we need to win the Champions League and at least challenge for the Premier League title every season.

Now when it comes to the Champions League games against top European giants, Mata has not been so impressive. Thats where our biggest player needs to step up and do what Lampard and Drogba did against top sides in the last decade.

Looking at his Champions League stats against top the top sides since he joined Chelsea (not counting useless sides like Genk and Nordsjaelland),Mata has two goals (one against Napoli, thanks to a schoolboy error from Paulo Cannavaro and one against Leverkusen) and three assists (against Valencia for Drogba's goal, one corner against Bayern Munich for Drogba's goal, one corner against Shakhtar for Moses' goal).

Now, no matter how great a player Mata is, these figures are simply not good enough for a player of his stature. He was ineffective against,Napoli, Barcelona and Bayern Munich and Shakhtar and Juve this year.

Oscar,on the other hand, has given us glimpses, that he could be the man for the big occasion. I fully understand that the type of footy we play in the CL against top sides does not suit Mata and I give him credit for making huge efforts to adapt, unlike many players who complain.

But still, how can we be so sure that Mata will be effective in the CL in the near future?

When we will face top sides, Mourinho will 100% go defensive, which I don't mind, of course. It seems that`s the way we'll play against top sides. Please don't get confused with all the great work Mata has done in the domestic competitions.

Champions League is totally different. I am just wondering how Mourinho will use Mata and what Mata will add in the CL since we will rely on counter-attacks, set pieces and long balls. Some may say Mourinho made good use of number 10`s (Sneijder and Ozil) but don't forget Inter and Madrid did not sit back in the CL, as much as we did and as much as we will.

Can Mata replicate his PL form in the CL?

Can Mata do what Lampard and Drogba have done for years in the CL and step up when we need him the most?

The way Juventus bullied our entire team is a huge concern for us in the near future. My big worry is that how Mourinho will use Mata in the CL and what Mata will add. I think this will be one of Jose's and most importantly one of our biggest problems.

I would like to hear from all of you.

The floor is yours.


Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday May 21 2013
Time: 4:45PM


Well, to some up my thoughts on this, as I've incidentally been thinking along these same lines too, I'd simply say Mata needs the gym! Period. So does Oscar too. And u're so spot thinking he'll be used almost exactly the same way he utilized Ozil at Madrid, IMHO though.
HGH Magic
21/05/2013 17:01:00
*and I think Jose will have to teach him the value of using his right foot a li'l more often too.
HGH Magic
21/05/2013 17:03:00
@cfc250 You contradicted yourself and answered your own question. Mata will struggle like most of our players in Europe when we are out of possession. We NEED to keep the ball and improve our possession play in Europe. Also Hazard has improved exponentially in last half of the season and his and Mata's interplay is something else. They didn't have that in the CL. This was still a team gelling and not the finished article. Players were new, learning to play with each other and so on. Last year can be totally discounted as Mata was not suited to that sort of play. He soldiered on and showed his work ethic and willingness to adapt. I don't know what Jose will do. Considering someone like Ozil in RM started every game for him in Europe and La Liga and Sneijder the same for Inter in Europe and Serie A, i think Jose will find him a role similar to what he is already playing. Plus Mata can play on either flanks as well, and has both long and short passing range and vision unlike the other two and not to mention superb dead ball skills. This season has been all about learning, gelling and the relentless fixture schedule hasn't helped with fatigue a factor, still Mata had both assists in the EL final. Going back to our play in Europe, I have said before we need to up our possession. To do that pressing and retaining the ball is essential. And the brunt of it falls to the pivot in a 4-2-3-1 system. As we all know our pivot has been the most contentious issue of debate for us throughout the season. This area needs surgery and needs it quick. With a better quality pivot we will have better possession and better and quicker transition of play bringing Mata into the game quicker with space to exploit. To help Mazacar or the 3 CAM's in behind the striker we need the PIVOT to step up. And till now we have not been linked with even one pivot player!!!!
21/05/2013 17:12:00
Put Bastian-Martinez behind MaZaCar Cavani & you will eat your words.
21/05/2013 17:24:00
Fix the Pivot & you will see the best of Mata. Mata is still not playing to his best cos our Pivot players cant control the tempo of the game, they cant pass & cant keep the ball well, Mata has to come very deep to spray the ball & defend.
21/05/2013 17:25:00
We did not lose to Shaktar, Athletico & Juve cos of Mata. We lost because of our poor defending & Pivot issues.
21/05/2013 17:26:00
You also don't really have to pose the same question 5 times in single article. Otherwise, good question, but you gave the answer yourself.
21/05/2013 17:28:00
@HGH Agreed Mata and Oscar need to hit the gym to develop more physically. Hazard looks a natural athlete, and physically hold his own.
21/05/2013 17:29:00
@syed, I'm afraid u've inadvertently veered off-target, so to speak, as our need for a proper DM/CM(pivot) is already well documented here on VC and elsewhere. And u can be sure Jose will definitely buy guys, so that point, I'm afraid appears moot! I guess what @cfc250 was trying to bring out was HOW Jose will utilize Mata, our best player(in the absolute sense), as opposed to how he will function with any new addition(s) to the team(which is relative), no?
HGH Magic
21/05/2013 17:32:00
He needs 2 be more physical
21/05/2013 17:33:00
He needs 2 be more physical
21/05/2013 17:33:00
Well,i commend your efforts for this article but i must say i dis-agree with all of the above. You claim to know the future by saying we will defend against top sides in Europe....are you saying we arent a top side? The only reason we have been defending in Europe was cos we didnt have a balanced team. With Mou coming,the team will be strengthened and we should play how we want to....and if there is a reason to defend,we will. Im sorry but I totally disagree with the whole point of your article.
21/05/2013 17:33:00
We got bullied against those top sides because our pivot was non-existent and Mata never got enough of the ball......has nothing to do with his ability nor Oscar's. Its not about bulking up.....Iniesta and co are not bulky.
21/05/2013 17:35:00
There are very good Pivot players out there, If JM can get 1 or 2 of them & correct our defensive lapses we will become better & unleash the beast in Mata. He is unbenchable, better than Ozil, JM likes Mids that can bang in goals, Mata have 20 goals plus 36 assists this season, he can score and create. Mata looks like a ghost in big European games cos our Pivot players cant control the game and get the ball to him. Players like Mata feed on possession. Ozil has been crap this season(especially in the UCL) and JM keeps playing him. I see no reason why he will bench Mata.
21/05/2013 17:36:00
i believe that the solution to this is a slight change in the formation to 4-2-1-3. With 2 defensive midfielders like romeu and ake and mata playing just ahead of them. This way we use his vision in distribution of the ball and use hazard and moses as outright wingers. This way we have a compact midfield. But i still believe oscar is more suited while playing a tight midfield game.
Blue India
21/05/2013 17:36:00
Did I miss something, has Jose been appointed Chelsea Manager?! Sorry but I not a fan of counting chickens before they've hatched, no matter how well developed they may be!
21/05/2013 17:50:00
@HGH No mate, it is related. @cfc250 is talking about Mata's struggles in Europe and how Jose will use him in Europe, right? Jose will use him let's say in his normal position. So in Europe we usually don't have possession. So what can Mata do except drop back and defend. If our pivot as samex and others have also noted above can retain possession and provide the ball to Mata to use, he will be more dangerous in addition to set piece duties. The more possession Mazacar have the better for us attacking wise. To retain the ball and transition quicker we need a quality pivot which as you say will be rectified. Then we can judge Mata, who does need to build up a bit more muscle as well as oscar, but both have played crazy number of games w/o injury and were still amazing against Everton in last game of season.
21/05/2013 17:53:00
@syed.Madrid and Inter(apart from the 2nd leg at the Camp Nou when Inter were already leading 3-1) don't park the bus,unlike us.We parked the bus against Benfica also.Madrid and Inter had a lot of the ball,unlike us.We defend too deep against top sides in Europe.So,I really don't understand what Mourinho will do with Mata.Agreed that pivot would solve a part of the problem.
21/05/2013 18:17:00
3nity.Iniesta is the master of what Mata is good that.And don't forget Barca have a system that is suited to the entire squad.They are the best at what they do.
21/05/2013 18:19:00
Again SameX and Syed,as I mentioned in my article,please don't bring Mata's domestic performances into consideration.I am talking about EUROPE.Europe is the problem.In the PL,he is the best player by a mile.I don't think fatigue was a factor in losing 3-0 to Juve and 2-1 to Shakhtar.We did not even reach half of the season by that time.
21/05/2013 18:22:00
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