• Premier League

Mata targets third place with Chelsea

ESPN staff
April 22, 2013
Juan Mata believes Chelsea will fight until the last game of the season to jump Arsenal © Getty Images

Juan Mata insists Chelsea are still targeting a top-three finish in the Premier League this season, despite Sunday's 2-2 draw at Liverpool leaving them behind Arsenal in the table.

Victories for Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal over the weekend has added extra pressure heading into the final five games of their Premier League season, with Chelsea one point adrift of Arsenal but with a game in hand. Mata though remains convinced their targets are within touching distance.

"We will try until the end to finish in third position," he told Chelsea's official website. "Third and fourth are available, second is another challenge, but we want to play in the Champions League next season.

"A point is a point [at Liverpool], but we're disappointed, that's the truth. We had the three points until the last second, we tried until the end, we defended well in the second half but at the end we couldn't.

"In terms of the added minutes, six minutes is a lot, so we were very disappointed at the end because it was an important game for us, especially with Tottenham and Arsenal winning.

"We are still alive and we will fight until the last game. With three points we would have been in a better situation, but we still have to face Tottenham and Manchester United and we have many more important games to come."

Meanwhile, Chelsea keeper Petr Cech had hinted that mental fatigue could be a factor as the Blues' exhaustive season heads into the final furlong.

The Blues must squeeze another seven games into their already draining schedule over the next few weeks - which will rise to eight if they make the Europa League final - and he believes dealing with pressure will be crucial to their hopes.

"We are in a position where we are fighting for everything," Cech said. "There's a lot of pressure in the Europa League because we want to win it and we are in the semi-finals.

"Every league game we have to fight for the top four and it's very tight, so there is pressure, and you have to find time to relax and make sure you are mentally fresh for the next game."

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