Juan Mata: Premier League more competitive than La Liga
Chelsea new boy says Barca and Real's dominance is having a negative impact on the league as a spectacle
Juan Mata believes that the English Premier League is more competitive than its Spanish equivalent, with the Primera DivisiÃ³n too often ending up a two-horse race between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Chelsea midfielder, who joined the Londoners from Valencia in August, says supporters in Spain are denied the same level of excitement as that of the English top flight because of the top two clubs’ continued dominance.
“I think unfortunately in Spain, from the fans’ point of view, there is a lack of real competition between the teams,” said Mata at his unveiling at Chelsea’s training ground this week.
“From January or February onwards it’s quite clear that there is a big difference in the table between the two big teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona, and the rest of the teams that are competing.
“I think here things are different and Chelsea are able to compete with other big teams and has a big chance of winning.”
Barcelona have won the Champions League three times in the last six years – but the 23-year-old is hoping that he and his Chelsea team-mates will be able to challenge their dominance in Europe this term.
“Real Madrid and Barcelona have been doing well and growing very much in the last few years,” he continued. They’ve been doing very well in the Champions League in recent years as well.
“But I think there are a number of other teams right now who could create some problems for them. I’d mention Chelsea as one of those teams. It’s a very difficult competition that we’re in right now so I think everyone has a chance.”
Mata also believes it is only matter of time until his compatriot Fernando Torres, who has still only found the net once since his £50m move to Stamford Bridge in January, starts scoring regularly for the Blues.
“He is a great player who has demonstrated in a number of matches that he can score a lot of goals,” said Mata of Torres.
“Everyone goes though phases but I think this will be his season. It will be a season for him to score lots of goals and give it his all.”
The Champions League trophy is the only piece of major silverware the Blues have not lifted since Roman Abramovic took over the club in 2003 – but although Mata knows it is one of the London club’s priorities, he believes they must not focus solely on any one competition.
“I think Chelsea is a team who give their all when it comes to any title,” he said. “The Champions League is obviously very important and it’s something that is very attractive to us – but we’re also very interested in the Premier League and any other competitions that we take part in.”
Mata also revealed that he has embarked on a part-time distance learning degree in Marketing and Physical Education at the University of Madrid since he sealed his move to London.
“I don’t think football and studying are mutually exclusive,” he said. “This is something that you can do at the same time.
“Even though I’m very much focused on my career here at Chelsea and giving it my all, in my free time I do like to enjoy other pursuits, like studying for example.”