Talisman backs Spaniard to carry on fighting for his place.
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has hailed his teammate Juan Mata for his attitude and character in fighting for his place in the first team, Sky Sports reports.
Mata, who has been the club’s Player of the Season for two years running, has suddenly found himself out of the team for the first time since his switch from Valencia in 2011 and has been told to adapt his game by returning manager Jose Mourinho.
The Spaniard has responded well to the challenge and made a crucial contribution off the substitutes’ bench against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday as he helped Chelsea battle back to earn a 1-1 draw in the Premier League.
“He played well, linked the play, put in the ball for the goal,” said team-mate Lampard.
“He has been a vital player ever since he came to the cub.
“His attitude has been first class. Every player understands there is a lot of competition, especially in midfield.
“If you are not playing, and we have all been there, you have to stay and train well, keep the right attitude. Juan has done that.”
Chelsea dominated the second half of the weekend’s encounter with Spurs until Fernando Torres got sent off for violent conduct, and Lampard praised the north London outfit, but also warned of the extreme pressure they face at the top of the tree.
“They’re a very good team,” said Lampard. “They are going to be looking at winning the league.
“That’s what you have to do when you spend that money. We’ve lived for the last eight years with that pressure, year in year out, and that’s what Tottenham have to deal with if they want to win the league.
“You have to get a level of consistency and it’s not easy. It’s a difficult league.”