• 'I think we're playing like a mature team'
Juan Mata has praised the maturity displayed by Chelsea's new-look team this term and believes the club can emulate last season's successes while playing in the more attractive and attacking style so craved by the owner, Roman Abramovich.
The European Cup winners endured some awkward moments against Nordsjaelland, Group E's whipping boys elect, on Tuesday night before a flurry of late goals put gloss on the Londoners' 4-0 victory. They will travel to Shakhtar Donetsk later this month top of the group on goal difference and seeking to eke out proper breathing space from the impressive Ukrainian champions, with a revitalised squad having apparently gelled with ease.
Chelsea, who top the fledgling Premier League table by three points ahead of Saturday's visit of struggling Norwich City, spent heavily over the summer to regenerate their playing staff, with considerable fees lavished on the likes of Eden Hazard, Marko Marin, Oscar, César Azpilicueta and Victor Moses, and the team seeking to adopt a more intricate, attacking approach.
"It's different," said Mata, whose own form has been outstanding since he returned from a brief break during last month's international window. "Last year we won the Champions League and the FA Cup playing as we played. Now I think we can do it better, playing even better, with Oscar, Hazard or whoever. All we can do is try to play our best, and that is what we are doing.
"Maybe this has been one of the best weeks for me. I played well against Stoke, then Wolves, then Arsenal and now this. I'm feeling very good and not tired – I'm still young and want to play as much as I can – but I still want to improve. I feel I can do better. But all we want is the team to continue with this good run of results. I think we're playing like a mature team. Maybe in Denmark it wasn't the best performance, but we still won the game 4-0. That's the sign of a mature team."
Those sentiments were echoed by his team-mate, David Luiz, whose curled free-kick 11 minutes from time had finally broken Nordsjaelland's resistance. "We played in such a mature way," said the Brazilian. "Our opponents had a great philosophy, and their coach has a great future and deserves to manage at a big club. So we needed to be mature: this is a new team, and we didn't know how they would play, so you have to wait and watch. We did that. But things are going so well at the moment. We lead the Premier League and top the Champions League group, so all our players are happy."