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Europa League round of 16 draw

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Mata: It's not been an easy day

Juan Mata has taken to Twitter and Facebook to promise Chelsea fans that he and his team-mates will do their utmost to improve their performances on the pitch after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas.

• Abramovich to turn to Guardiola
• Chelsea axe finally falls on AVB

Villas-Boas was axed on Sunday after a 1-0 defeat at West Brom was deemed the final straw for owner Roman Abramovich following a tumultuous first season for the Portuguese at Stamford Bridge.

Mata, 23, has been one of the few bright sparks for the Blues since Villas-Boas brought him to the club summer, and he expressed his thanks to his former boss.

"It hasn't been an easy day for those who, like me, are part of Chelsea," Mata said. "I would like to thank the manager and wish him luck.

"We have to keep working hard and better days will come. Thanks for your support!"

Roberto Di Matteo has been installed as caretaker manager for the rest of the season, as Chelsea look to improve on their current position of fifth in the table and qualify for the Champions League.

Former Blues manager Jose Mourinho is among the early favourites for the post, with Pep Guardiola, Rafa Benitez and Fabio Capello also believed to be potential candidates.

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