Apr 17, 2013 at 8pm UK at ​Craven Cottage

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

Rafael Benitez compares Juan Mata to Gianfranco Zola

Benitez compares Mata to Zola
© 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
Read Next:
Mata: 'Still plenty to play for'
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account