• Champions League

Mata pleads for unity ahead of key clash

ESPN staff
December 4, 2012

Juan Mata has urged Chelsea supporters to get behind the team - and manager - ahead of the team's Champions League match against FC Nordsjaelland, insisting that "to lift trophies, we have to be all together".

Even if the defending European champions defeat the Danish side on Wednesday, it still may not be enough to prevent them going out as a mutually beneficial draw between Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus will put both teams through their group at the expense of the Stamdford Bridge side.

Such difficulty follows a period of six games without a win, which culminated in the sacking of Roberto di Matteo and the hugely unpopular appointment of Rafa Benitez.

Mata admitted that the players are conscious of the angry atmosphere in the stands when they are playing, as boos have been heard in every Chelsea game since.

"I'm aware. We were aware. But I think it's not my responsibility, I must say," Mata noted. "The supporters are free do whatever they want by my job, our job, is to play well and win."

Mata, however, insisted that club unity is the only forward:

"I think when you are a player, you have to be just focused on what is going on on the pitch. I'm just talking about myself. I just try to be focused on what I'm doing. I think, if we want to win, if we want to lift trophies, we have to be all together. We can fight as a unit, as a team.

"As a player, I just have to work with the manager we have now. Now it's Rafa. We are working hard with him, working to help him. As I said, to win things, we have to be as a unit, all the supporters, all the team, as one.

"We are players who want to win. After that, we are represent a big club and have to provide performances the club deserves, and the supporters because they are with us in good and bad moments and I think it's not an individual achievement when we win something."

Mata also stated that he is confident Shakhtar Donetsk can beat Juventus, and thereby help put Chelsea into the next round.

"I think we will have a chance to get through. First of all, we have to do our job, to win. It's not going to be easy because they [Nordsjaelland] always play a really good football. They have a lot of possession in all of their games. Hopefully, Shakhtar can win against Juventus, as they won against us.

"It's not easy to play in their stadium, with that atmosphere and I still believe we have a chance to get through, to win."

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