After only starting three times for Chelsea this season, Juan Mata has not had the anticipated start to this season that Chelsea fans originally expected. FootballFanCast had the opportunity to catch up with him this week, where he was speaking at an EA SPORTS FIFA 14 launch event and he gave us his thoughts on the Capital One Cup, Spanish football in England, Chelsea’s recent signings and his career so far.
What is your preferred position on the pitch? Where do you think you play best?
I always feel comfortable playing in between the lines. Between the lines means trying to be able to show line of pass to my teammates and trying to receive the ball between the lines.
You had a good win against Swindon on Tuesday in the Capital One Cup. How do you find playing against the different clubs in this tournament?
I think it’s nice. It’s nice for me to know different places and different cities in England that I have never been to before. Nice stadium as well and nice atmosphere. It’s nice for little teams to dream to beat a big team and I think it’s nice for them and nice for us to feel this experience. I really like it.
It’s a tournament you haven’t won yet with Chelsea – does that drive you to play better and win these matches?
Well, it would be amazing for me to win it. I think the two trophies I am missing right now are the Premier League and the Capital One Cup. For me, if we win these two trophies, I will be more than happy.
Maybe this season! So at the minute there are about 31 Spaniards playing in the Premier league. Why do you think this is? Is it something to do with the style of play?
I think there’s a trend, a trend with Spanish football because with the national team you only have the World Cup and the Euro Cup. I think everyone that likes football likes the style of Spanish football, so that’s why a lot of players are coming. I think as well because in Spain at the end of the season there are normally two teams fighting for the trophy, Madrid and Barcelona, and the other teams are a bit behind, so I think in terms of competitiveness you come here to try to win the trophy. If you are not in Madrid or Barcelona in Spain, then it is difficult.
What for you personally is the biggest draw to England, the best factor, both in terms of football and the country?
I really like the lifestyle. I think for a football player it is really quite a calm lifestyle because if you are living in London, it’s a massive city, not everyone likes football, not everyone knows you so you can feel more relaxed in the streets. And for me, London is one of the best cities in the world. And obviously talking about football, it is amazing for me to play, for example at Wembley when we play in the Capital One Cup, I think it’s a nice atmosphere.
Do you prefer playing in England or Spain?
I don’t know! I’m really enjoying being here right now, but I think in your career it is better that you know both, it’s better that you learn from not only the Spanish but other countries. I think it’s better for you to grow as a person and as a player if you play different kinds of football.
What are your thoughts on Chelsea’s most recent signings?
I think we have signed top level players, because all the players that are in Chelsea are top level. For example, Schurrle, Schwarzer the keeper and Van Ginkel, all of them are very good players and despite Schwarzer, that is not young, they are 21 or 22 and they bring a lot of passion, a lot of freshness for the team.
This weekend you have another derby, this time at White Hart Lane; do you feel more pressure at these games? Is the atmosphere slightly different?
I love these kinds of games! I love to play in the stadium at White Hart Lane; I think it’s a very good stadium if you are playing an away team. Tottenham is a good team, the stadium is very good. It’s going to be a great game for us, hopefully!
Are there any specific games during your career at Chelsea that stand out for you more than any other?
Yes, obviously the finals that I have played. The three finals: the Champion League Final, the Europa League Final and the FA Cup Final. All of them were very different between them, but very emotional for me. In the three we won, in the three we suffer, in the three we were trying until the end to win. I think these games were the most important for me. The other one was my first, against Norwich, it was my debut. I came and I scored, so it was the perfect debut for me.
What are your aspirations for where Chelsea is going to finish this season?
I wish nothing but to win the Premier League. I think we have a good squad, we have a good team, and we will try to win! It’s a trophy that I’m missing, so it would be amazing for me to win this!
Finally, we know you’re a fan of London. Where’s your favourite place and why?
Well, I would need to do a list! The last place I went was Somerset House that was last week. I went there to visit the eBulli restaurant exhibition which was good. I love London. It’s like lots of cities within a city.
Juan Mata appears in EA SPORTS FIFA 14, available to buy NOW on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC from Game.co.uk. Get involved in the most popular mode in FIFA and start your Ultimate Team today at http://www.easports.com/uk/fifa/play.