Chelsea morning news: Mata will start v Steaua and Benitez has no attachment

All the latest news and gossip from Stamford Bridge including Juan Mata, Jan Vertonghen, Rafa Benitez and Willian.

Juan Mata turned to hero for Chelsea yesterday, saving them a defeat at Tottenham Hotspur with a superb second half performance. He set up John Terry’s equaliser and worked tirelessly for the cause, with Mourinho singing his praises, and confirming he will start against Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League tie this week:

“I think this is the way players should say ‘I want to play’.

‘Blah, blah, blah’ is not good. Conversation with you (the media) is not good. The agents’ ‘blah, blah, blah’ behind is not good. Good is this, good is the effort he made against Swindon. The way he changed the team in the second half here makes me a very happy manager who can say 72 hours in advance that he will start against Steaua Bucharest.”

After the game Jose Mourinho was furious with the way in which Jan Vertonghen reacted to Fernando Torres either tripping him or attempting to gouge his cheek out.

"It was a situation where the player wasn't helping the referee. He's a fantastic player but he's a special guy because three days ago he left the player naked against Aston Villa. It wasn't a penalty or a red card and he shouldn't have played today, he should have been suspended from a red card against Villa. Today he changed the game, I'm not happy."

Manchester clubs struggle as balance of power shifts back to London

Rafa Benitez eventually had a rather successful time at Chelsea as their interim boss last season, and he now claims the club never deserved him. Currently leading Napoli to a potential title challenge, the former Liverpool boss is set to face Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in the Champions League this week.

But when it comes to Chelsea, there is no attachment:

“All through my career I felt I was really fortunate, because I kept very good relationships with my clubs – Tenerife, Extremadura, Valencia, Liverpool. Chelsea, though, brought a special set of circumstances.”

Finally, and it is being revealed in some quarters, that not only did Willian have a medical at Tottenham Hotspur - but he might have even signed a contract with the club.

It was reportedly signed over a celebratory drink with his agent Kia Joorabchian and Tottenham officials - but he changed his mind and decided to join Chelsea instead.


image: © Ben Sutherland

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