Mata relishing Premier League life
Mata has made a flying start to his career at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Valencia for around £23 million in the summer, scoring twice in his first three appearances and impressing with his skill, movement and vision.
The 23-year-old attributes his good form to the fact he has settled quickly in London, and also revealed he is enjoying being in a relatively more relaxed atmosphere than he was used to in his native Spain.
“I think football is experienced differently in Spain and the UK,” Mata told the club’s official website.
“In England the atmosphere is much calmer, people aren't allowed into the facilities here and London is such a huge city it is very rare that we are stopped and asked for photos or autographs.
“I think the fans are great and the whole way the football is experienced here is fantastic.”
Mata is widely expected to start when Chelsea take on Manchester United at Old Trafford this Sunday, in a clash many observers are predicting will have a significant impact on the eventual outcome of the Premier League title race.
But after finding his chances of success with Valencia limited by the dominating duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona, the Spaniard admitted he is just pleased to finally find himself at a club capable of challenging for major trophies.
“Unfortunately in Spain from the fans' point of view there is a lack of real competition between the teams,” he added.
“From January or February onwards it is clear there is a big difference in the points table between the two big teams, Real Madrid and Barça and the rest of the teams that are competing.
“Here things are different and Chelsea is able to compete with other big teams and has a good chance of winning.
“Real Madrid and Barcelona have been doing well and growing very much in the last few years, doing very well in the Champions League, but there are a number of other teams right now who could create some problems for them [in that competition].
“I would mention Chelsea as one of those teams. This is a very difficult competition we are in right now and I think everyone has a chance.
“Chelsea is a team that gives their all when it comes to any competition. The Champions League is very important and it's something that's very attractive to us but we're also very interested in the Premier League and any other competitions we take part in.”
By Liam Twomey