Apr 17, 2013 at 8pm UK at ​Craven Cottage
Fulham
0-3
Chelsea

Ruiz (44'), Senderos (47')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Luiz (30'), Terry (43', 71')
Ivanovic (18')

Rafael Benitez compares Juan Mata to Gianfranco Zola

Chelsea's Juan Mata celebrates scoring the opener in the FA Cup 4th round replay against Brentford on February 17, 2013
© PA Photos
Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez says that Juan Mata's intelligence and skill reminds him of club legend Gianfranco Zola.

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has declared that Juan Mata reminds him of Gianfranco Zola and deserves to be mentioned in the conversation for Footballer of the Year.

Mata has been an integral part of Chelsea's marathon campaign, scoring 18 times and missing just three of the Blues' 59 games in all competitions.

Benitez believes that Mata possesses similar attributes to club legend Zola and is among the most intelligent players in Europe.

When asked if Mata deserves to be considered for individual accolades Benitez told The Mirror: "If you look over the whole season and analyse his performances, he should be considered for sure.

"He has played two games every week for months and he's been good. He is a very good professional, and his numbers are fantastic. Juan reminds me of Gianfranco Zola when he was at Chelsea. He has the same game intelligence, which is the key, playing between the lines, in front of the centre-backs.

"Like Zola, he is not too big but has the intelligence to get into the box. He is very clever, he finds space and has quality and he has the vision as well."

The 24-year-old is in Chelsea's squad for tomorrow night's West London derby against Fulham, with a win at Craven Cottage enough to send Benitez's side third in the Premier League.

Chelsea's Juan Mata celebrates scoring the opener in the FA Cup 4th round replay against Brentford on February 17, 2013
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