May 8, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
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Juan Mata: 'Chelsea close to great season'

Mata: 'Chelsea close to great season'
© PA Photos
Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata believes that Europa League success and a third-place finish in the Premier League are enough for a "great season" at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata has insisted that securing third place in the Premier League alongside Europa League success would constitute a "great season" for his improving side.

The Blues took a giant step towards Champions League qualification last weekend as Mata scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Mata believes that third place shows progress in the league under interim manager Rafael Benitez, while victory against Benfica in the Europa League final would satisfy the club's desire for silverware.

He told The Mirror: "If we are able to achieve the Europa League and if we finish third in the Premier League, I think it will be a great season for us, winning a trophy and playing in the Champions League next season.

"Last season was tough, but at the end it was one of the greatest for the history of the club. We won two trophies. Unluckily we are not in the FA Cup final, we lost in the semi final. But we are in another final in the Europa League.

"So I think if we can win this trophy and we can be third, which is better than last season in the Premier League, we have a great season."

Benitez's side will secure Champions League qualification with victory in tomorrow night's crunch London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.

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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