Juan Mata reaping rewards of break, says Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo believes playmaker Juan Mata is reaping the rewards of his extended break last month
Roberto Di Matteo believes Juan Mata is reaping the rewards of an extended break following a hectic summer for the Chelsea playmaker.
The Blues boss opted to give the Spain international a two-week rest last month following his participation at Euro 2012 and the London Olympics.
The 24-year-old appears to be benefiting from his lay-off after sparkling during Chelsea’s 4-0 victory at Nordsjaelland in midweek, when he netted two goals to help the Blues to victory.
“I’m very happy that he’s responded so well to it [the break],” said Di Matteo. “It was just common sense to give him a break and the way he’s performing suggests it was very welcome by his body and his mind.
“Juan Mata is a very intelligent man and I talked to him about this idea; he bought into it and saw the benefits of it.”
Despite the break seeming to have stood Mata in good stead for the season ahead, Di Matteo insisted there were no rests planned for other players at present.
“Every player is different,” he continued. “With Mata it was because of the busy schedule he had over the summer. I need to look at every individual as a player and decide but at the moment there are no breaks planned.”
Di Matteo was full of praise for Mata, who has been a star performer for the Blues since his switch from Valencia last summer.
“Juan has really raised the bar after the break but when you look at how he played last year, he had a fantastic first season in the Premier League,” he added.”
Chelsea are three points clear at the top of the Premier League after six games ahead of the visit of Norwich City on Saturday.
But Di Matteo still thinks it is too early to read anything into the current standings.
“I think we can be fairly pleased with our start and also the way we’re playing,” he said. “But every game is big challenge for us and tomorrow is another big test against Norwich.
“We’ll have to see if we can continue to play that kind of football and break teams down.
“We’re only six games into the league, there are so many more to come so it’s too early to give a judgement now.”