Mata hails Di Matteo's 'clever' leadership skills at Chelsea

The Spanish midfielder has pointed to recent comebacks against the likes of Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk and Tottenham as proof of the Blues' improved mentality
Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata has hailed Roberto Di Matteo’s leadership skills, insisting his and the team’s impressive form is down to the manager’s "clever" approach.

The Blues have lost just once in the league this season – to current Premier League leaders Manchester United – and the Spain international has been lauded as one of the key factors behind the Londoners’ improved displays.

However Mata has moved to deflect the praise in the direction of Di Matteo, revealing that the Italian’s personal approach is reaping rewards on the pitch.

Mata told the Daily Mirror: “His speeches in team meetings are very clever, and it’s true that he knows how to go into each player. He talks with each of us about our rivals and how important it is to win trophies for this club.

“With me, he always gave me ­confidence. Of course, when you are playing well you don’t need that.

“But when you are in a bad moment, you do need it, and Robbie knows when he has to say something and always gave that to me."

Mata has also pointed to Chelsea’s improved mentality under Di Matteo, highlighting recent comebacks from behind against Manchester United in the League Cup, Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League and Tottenham in the Premier League.

Mata added: “We always have belief in our dressing room and you see that in the games against big rivals like Arsenal, Tottenham and United.

“United was a difficult game and so were both matches against Shakhtar, but we are positive in our mind-set and that will be better for us.

“Of course, confidence comes from results. If you are winning, you have that confidence, if you are losing you don’t have it.”