The Spaniard still has a key role to play at Stamford Bridge according to his colleague.
Branislav Ivanovic insists Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata remains as one of the best players in the Premier League despite starting just once under Jose Mourinho.
Mata has picked up the Blues’ player of the year award for the past two seasons in succession and was the linchpin of their attack in 2012/13, chipping in with 19 goals and 35 assists in all competitions on the way to winning the Europa League.
However, the Spaniard has started just one of Chelsea’s three league fixtures this term since Jose Mourinho returned the club and was linked with shock move to Manchester United in the summer – but Ivanovic is certain Mata will soon demonstrate his importance to the team.
“He (Mata) is a player who was one of the best in the last two years,” he told Four Four Two.
“He came back late from the summer, but he’s had the time to work now. He’s a guy who is really important for us and for the team.
“It’s important for him to train hard, keep going and use every chance. I always said that, for me, Mata is one of the best quality players in the league. He has a brilliant touch, and he’s a brilliant guy.”