Juan Mata admits first season at Chelsea exceeded all expectations
Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata admits his first season at Stamford Bridge exceeded his wildest dreams after the Blues' cup double
Juan Mata reflected on a “special” first season at Chelsea after the Blues’ FA Cup and Champions League double made for a thrilling end to an otherwise turbulent campaign.
Playmaker Mata, who joined the Blues from Valencia last summer, admits the first few months of Andre Villas-Boas’s doomed reign were difficult as the Blues stuttered in the Premier League.
But the 24-year-old Spain midfielder admits he was thrilled to lift both cups under interim boss Roberto Di Matteo to cap a memorable season for the Londoners and says he feels settled at Stamford Bridge.
“I feel very happy and this is so special for me because this is my first season at the club,” Mata told Chelsea magazine. “From the first day here I have felt the support of the Chelsea fans and that means so much to me. I have really enjoyed my first season with the club.
“It hasn’t always been an easy year for us, particularly when you talk about the Premier League, but we won the FA Cup, my first trophy here in England.
“Lifting the Champions League was an unbelievable experience – the biggest club trophy you can win – and, for me, winning the [Chelsea] Player of the Year trophy makes me feel very happy, proud and grateful.
“I could never have expected my first season to go this well.
“To win the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Chelsea Player of the Year, it is incredible and I am so happy, but I want more.
“I have the European Championships in the summer and maybe the Olympic Games as well, so, who knows, perhaps I can say that I have won nearly everything I have played in this year.”
Mata caught the eye with a number of sparkling displays for Chelsea last season – and the former Valencia forward is keen to improve his game next term.
“My focus is to continue improving,” he adds. “I am young as a footballer and I have to improve my game and my statistics over the next year, this is what I will try to do.
“You cannot rest on what you have achieved, you must look to the future and hope for more success.
“I think I have learned from English football and become a better player from when I moved here.”