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Shakhtar can become a force in European football, warns Chelsea star Mata

Shakhtar can become a force in European football, warns Chelsea star Mata

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The Blues ace urges caution ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie, while reminiscing about Spain's successful quarter-final and semi-final wins at the Donbass Arena

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata has urged caution ahead of the Blues' Champions League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk, warning that the Ukrainian champions have the foundations to become a force in Europe.

Tuesday's hosts have won their opening 12 league fixtures of the season, with their draw against Juventus in matchday two marking the team's first dropped points since March.

And Mata believes that the west Londoners’ opponents have got everything in place to rise to the upper echelons of the continental game.

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He told Chelsea's official website: "As a team, Shakhtar are improving all the time, particularly by signing Brazilian players.

"Paco [Biosca], our club doctor, came here from Shakhtar and he's been telling us all about them. He said they are a very good team and the club has a great structure.

"The supporters are very passionate about their team and, as a country, the Ukrainians love their football."

The Donbass Arena was the venue for Spain's successful quarter-final and semi-final clashes against France and Portugal in Euro 2012 before La Roja beat Italy 4-0 in the final.

Reliving his time in Ukraine during the summer, Mata added: "The Donbass Arena is a fantastic stadium, very modern, and I'm looking forward to playing, hopefully we will have a similar result to the ones Spain had.

"We also spent two days at their training complex as well."

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