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Apr, 6, 2013

Mata targets top four finish

Juan Mata is certain Chelsea can finish in the Premier League's top four this season claiming the club has learned from mistakes made last season.

• Blog: Chelsea granted easy ride

Chelsea won the Champions League and FA Cup last year but finished sixth in the Premier League. In an interview with the Guardian, the Spanish international says qualification for the Champions League has to be the club's main target as they head towards the end of the season, even though they are still involved in the Europa League and FA Cup.

Demba Ba had said Chelsea must prioritise the cup competitions over the top four, but Mata doesn't agree with his team-mate.

"If we can finish in the top four, after ending sixth last year, that would mean we have more consistency and is a step forward," he said. "We've learned from what happened last year and won't make the same mistakes again. We know we have to be playing in next season's Champions League.

"But if we can win, say, the Europa League, it would have been another great season for the club. They have never won that trophy before. Neither have I and there are so many things I still want to win: the Premier League is one. We are a present and a future team. We have so many players who have been here a long time and have won a lot of trophies, but we have a good mix in the dressing room with young players who have come in, like me last season, or Oscar this. This club, and this team, has a bright future and, next season, one of the most important aims will be to win the title again. I want to do that here.

"I look back on these two years happily. I know I said the first 12 months I had here were the best of my career but, since then, I have won the European Championship with Spain so it's not been too bad. Everything has gone right so far: trophies, my life here in London, growing as a person. But this is only the start."

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