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.