Chelsea aims for top-three finish and Europa League glory
Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata believes his side will be able to finish third on the Premier League table in spite of picking up a 2-2 draw against Liverpool last Saturday. With Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal winning their respective games on the weekend, Chelsea is now under added pressure to perform at their best in the remaining five games of the Premier League season.
Juan Mata, whose name is being considered for the PFA Player of the Year award, insists Chelsea will able to grab a top-three position at the end of the season.
“We will try until the end to finish in third position,” Juan Mata said in an interview to 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.”
Chelsea can easily replace Arsenal at third place since they are positioned fourth and have game in hand. With only a point acting as difference between the two teams, Chelsea can overtake Arsenal with a draw since they possess a better goal-difference.
However, Chelsea must stay wary of mental and physical exhaustion. Chelsea have to participate in seven games apart from their Premier League fixtures in the next couple of weeks. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has warned his teammates of unwanted pressure and exhaustion.
“We are in a position where we are fighting for everything,” Petr 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.”