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The Chelsea star missed out to the Wales international - who was also named Young Player of the Year - for the main award, but is confident of bettering Spurs in the top-four race

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata has hailed the talents of Gareth Bale after missing out on the Professional Footballers Association Player of the Year award to the Tottenham star.

Mata turned 25 on Sunday as the Blues registered a confident 2-0 win over Swansea at Stamford Bridge to reclaim third spot and pole position to secure Champions League football next season.

And the Spaniard is positive about Chelsea's prospects come the end of the campaign, with a Europa League semi-final second leg also to come on Thursday.

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"Congratulations to Gareth Bale for being named player of the year and young player of the year," Mata wrote on his blog for Grada360.com. "He's a superb player with amazing skills and he's only 23 years old.

"I couldn't have thought about a better way to celebrate [my birthday] than a victory and the company of my family and friends.

"We managed to beat a competitive Swansea, a team with some friends of mine like Pablo [Hernandez] and Michu.

"[They are] three key points in our aim to be in the next Champions League, even more after Arsenal and Tottenham's draws [against Manchester United and Wigan respectively]."

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