Last Game

Sydney FC 0 - 1 Chelsea

Tuesday, 02 June 2015, 11:00

Friendly Match

Mata: We're all behind Rafa

Juan Mata has mounted a passionate defence of Rafa Benitez ahead of Chelsea's Europa League semi-final against Basel.

Last Updated: 02/05/13 at 20:44 Post Comment

Juan Mata: Comes out in defence of Rafa Benitez ahead of Basel clash

Juan Mata: Comes out in defence of Rafa Benitez ahead of Basel clash

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The interim manager is within 90 minutes of delivering the Champions League holders' second successive European final appearance, and his side take a 2-1 lead into Thursday's home leg.

But the build-up to the second leg has been overshadowed by Jose Mourinho's strongest hint yet he could return to Chelsea this summer, and Benitez was forced to field persistent questions about his one-time rival at his pre-match press conference.

Asked for a player's perspective on Mourinho's possible return, Mata instead chose to talk up the qualities of the man still in possession of the manager's job.

He said: "Rafa has had great seasons at every club he has been at. Since he came here, he's tried to do his best.

"For me and the rest of the players, he's a great manager. We are fighting for third place in the league and with a chance to win a trophy.

"So maybe the season in the end will look good for us and maybe for Rafa. And that will be because of the job he has done.

"Whether he is given more time or not doesn't depend on me. All I can say is that we are all working really, really well with Rafa."

David Luiz's last-minute winner in Switzerland means Basel must score twice at Stamford Bridge to stand any chance of reaching this month's Amsterdam final.

But Murat Yakin's side managed just that on their last trip to London, when they left Tottenham with a 2-2 draw, and Mata is wary of the visitors' attacking threat.

"It's going to be a dangerous game," he said. "Even though we have two goals away, a great result, it's that kind of game that can be very risky.

"If we don't go into the game thinking about winning, thinking about defending well, thinking about trying to win again, it's going to be difficult.

"We still know we have to fight if we're going to be in the final. We got a great result in Switzerland, but now we have to play another 90 minutes and I'm sure they're not going to give up. They're a team who try until the end. It will be tough, for sure."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

A

h ha ha, excellent. Let's hope he goes on the run. Then they hunt piggy down for scoffing all the apples. At least he's done something right - he has united football fans, regardless of who they support, against FIFA and all those at the top who have been bleeding the game for their own means and giving nothing back.

GVMUFC
Blatter 'under investigation'

S

till reckon Chelsea will go for Khedira as back up for Matic. I think it will turn out to be quite a Mourihno-y window: We'll see the squad players and youth in action pre-season, say things like well, we need not buy anybody and then the club will bid £60m for Pogba and send everybody on loan.

tk421
F365's Transfer Guide - Part One

I

would love to be a fly on the wall at the meeting between Milner and Rodgers. I don't know if flies can count, but if they can then I would be counting the number of times Rodgers used the word outstanding in his attempts to get Milner to sign.

godzilla
Reds and Arsenal chase Milner

Footer 365

Mourinho 'not interested' in Griezmann

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has ruled out making a move for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann this summer.

United fail with Varane and Bale bids

Manchester United have failed with a €150million bid for Raphael Varane and Gareth Bale but want Atletico Madrid's Joao Miranda, claim reports.

Costa 'so happy' at Chelsea - Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has dismissed claims Diego Costa is unhappy at Chelsea, insisting he is 'responsible for the good atmosphere' at Stamford Bridge.

Mail Box

Celebrate Good Times, But Hard Work Starts Now

The Mailbox is joyous over the impending departure of Sepp Blatter, but offers a reminder that problems remain. Plus title winners, CL play-offs and Nigel Adkins...

Liverpool 2015 Feels Like Liverpool 2011...

One Mailer says Benteke = Carroll, Bellamy = Milner and Clyne = Downing. Plus we have U21 Euro impatience, farewell Rio, Rafa Benitez, Milner, FIFA and title play-offs...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company