Lampard thinks his Spanish midfield partner is ‘vital’ to Chelsea…
Chelsea midfield legend Frank Lampard has praised the attitude and desire Juan Mata has shown this season after losing his spot in the side, reports Sky Sports.
The 25-year-old Spaniard has been Chelsea’s Player of the Year for consecutive seasons, but has bizarrely fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge under returning boss Jose Mourinho, who has selected Brazilian prodigy Oscar as his first choice no.10.
Mata has only made one Premier League start in the 0-1 loss to Everton so far this season, where the playmaker was hauled off after 56 minutes. He did excellently though when he came on against Spurs at the weekend, and assisted Chelsea’s equaliser.
“He played well, linked the play, put in the ball for the goal,” said teammate Lampard.
“He has been a vital player ever since he came to the cub.”
Mata scored 20 goals in all competitions last season, and registered countless assists, helping the Blues win the Europa League under interim boss Rafa Benitez.
“His attitude has been first class. Every player understands there is a lot of competition, especially in midfield,” Lampard continued.
Mata does have to compete with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, new £35m signing Willian, Andre Schurrle and Kevin De Bruyne for a starting spot, but at the beginning of the season Mata would have been the first name on the team sheet for virtually every Chelsea fan.
“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,” added Lampard.
Chelsea lie in fourth place in the Premier League, and face an important Champions League tie against Steaua Bucharest midweek.