Mata appreciates rest time
Few players have ever had the summer that Juan Mata has just gone through, but the Spanish playmaker finally feels he is ready for the 2012-13 season after enjoying an extended break for club and country.
Mata, 24, found himself in the rare position of being included in the Spain squads for both the European Championship and Olympics, and that followed Chelsea's gruelling but ultimately glorious runs in the FA Cup and Champions League.
As such, the midfielder was rested by Roberto Di Matteo for the recent game against QPR while his national side also agreed that it was better to leave Mata out of the recent friendly against Saudi Arabia and the World Cup qualifier in Georgia.
"The break was important for me because it is a busy season with five trophies," Mata told the Evening Standard. "It was a busy summer for me with the European Championship and the Olympics but now I feel fit and strong. I want to play because I love to play football.
"My first season here was amazing for me but I want to improve. I can because I am still young and believe I can always get better. I would like to score more goals, create more goals and learn to defend better."