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Mata reaping the benefits of extended break

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata has attributed his impressive form to manager Roberto Di Matteo’s decision to hand him a fortnight’s rest.

The Spain international had a rigorous first year in England, making 53 appearances in all competitions as the Blues won both the FA Cup and the Champions League.

Mata would then participate for his country in Euro 2012 before being an ever-present in Spain’s underwhelming London 2012 Olympics campaign, and after returning to Stamford Bridge in time for the new season, it was decided that the playmaker was in need of a rest.

“We had a talk before the start of the season because, with the Euro cup and the Olympic Games, it must be a hard summer for me,” Mata said.

“So I think it was logical. I feel really well as well because of the good run of results for the team. We stayed at the top of the league, so I’m very happy.”

Mata has starred since his return from his break, and scored the winner at the Emirates on Saturday as his side defeated rivals Arsenal 2-1 to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table to three points.

The former Valencia player said that his extended break would enable him to produce even better performances as the months go on.

“Before I had these two weeks, I didn’t feel bad,” Mata said. “But I think, with so many games in the season, it will be good for me and now I feel very, very good. I think it was a nice break for me. Two weeks resting, trying to get out of football and now I feel really fit.”

Mata’s next port of call is in the Champions League as Chelsea continue their defence of their European title with a trip to Denmark to face FC Nordsjaelland.

Mon 1 October, 2012
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