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Petr Cech has been lined up for some scouting duties as the Blues prepare to face his former side in the competition, while Branislav Ivanovic stresses the need to "win ugly"

Juan Mata has indicated that Chelsea will take the Europa League seriously, insisting that their goal is to win the tournament.

Rafa Benitez's men dropped into the competition after failing to qualify from their Champions League group, despite being holders, finishing behind Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk.

The round-of-32 draw took place on Thursday and saw the Blues paired with Czech Republic outfit Sparta Prague, with the first leg set to take place on February 14 and Mata wants to win the trophy.

“We face Sparta Prague in #EuropaLeague," the Spaniard wrote on Twitter.

“The first step to reach our goal in this tournament: Become Champions!”

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13/2 Chelsea are 13/2 to win the Europa League with bet365
The clash will see Blues keeper Petr Cech return to his former club, where he spent a season before moving to Rennes and then onto Stamford Bridge.

The Premier League club's secretary, David Barnard, revealed that the 30-year-old will be taking up extra duties as a scout for the clash against his ex-employers - a tie which he will be relishing.

“No doubt he will fill us in on Sparta," he told reporters. “It’s one of his previous clubs and his home town, so he’ll be looking forward to going back.”

If the Stamford Bridge outfit defeat their keeper's former side over two legs than it will be Dutch champions Ajax or Romanian side Steaua Bucharest waiting for them in the next round.

Manchester United legend, and current marketing director at the Eredivisie club, Edwin van der Sar, was shocked by Chelsea's exit from the main European competition but hopes to face them in the Europa League after also failing to get through their group.

“It’s a surprise for everyone," he the 42-year-old added. "They’re 10 points behind in the league and Benitez had a tough start.

“Let’s see in two months if he can steady the ship and maybe claw their way back into the title race.

“Hopefully, we’ll see them in the next round.”

The Blues have endured an inconsistent season, currently sitting 13 points behind leaders Manchester United in the Premier League, and defender Branislav Ivanovic has called on his team to start grinding out results.

The Serb said: “We know we are inconsistent and still building.

“It is important for us to win ugly as that develops belief and confidence in the players.”
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