Chelsea star Mata: Di Matteo is the perfect manager

The Spain international has hailed his boss' managerial skills and anticipates a tricky test when the Blues travel to Ukraine for their Champions League meeting with Shakhtar
Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata has hailed Roberto Di Matteo, labelling the Italian as "the perfect manager".

The 24-year-old midfielder has made an impressive start to the 2012-13 campaign and scored two goals, as well as claiming an assist, in his side's 4-2 win over Tottenham on Saturday.

Di Matteo earned a two-year deal as the Blues' permanent manager after guiding his side to a maiden Champions League trophy while in temporary charge last season and Mata was full of praise for his approach.

"Robbie knows very well the team, and the club as well," the Spain international said.

"He used to be a legend here and now as a manager he connects very well with the team. In every meeting he goes deep inside each one of us, talking about every game, and it's very important to be ready for every competition.

"He knows how important it is for the club to play these games, to win the Champions League like last season, so for us he is the perfect manager."

Ahead of Tuesday's crucial Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, Mata insists that although he's expecting a difficult encounter, he is adamant his side can come away with a positive result.

"I think it is going to be a fight for the ball," Mata added. "They are a team with quality players, quality in the midfield area and in their league they always have the ball and a lot of chances to score.

"So tomorrow we will try to play our football as we did in the last two months, enjoy ourselves and the level we are playing at. We expect a rival team always wanting the ball."

Di Matteo, meanwhile, reserved praise for the footballing philosophy of Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu, who managed in Serie A during the former midfielder's time at Lazio.

"I remember watching his teams a lot in the past and he has always played with the same philosophy," he said.

"Quick, possession football and you can see Shakhtar Donetsk want to play out from the back with the goalkeeper and with a lot of tactically good and fast players. He is an excellent coach with a lot of experience and he has done extremely well here at Shakhtar.

"I am just happy to be leading this group and working with these players and working for the club that I have in my heart,' added the Chelsea manager.

"The players deserve all the credit as it has been extremely difficult last season and also this season with integrating players and our system of play. I am just here to help and do my job well as I can and hopefully we can continue for a long time."