We might have had some draining games over the last few weeks, in a fixture list as congested as the District Line on a Saturday afternoon but with another game on the horizon tonight, Juan Mata is literally begging to play.
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With us all but out of the race to finish fourth in the Premier League, Roberto Di Matteo was apparently considering giving a few players a rest after this weekend’s FA Cup win against tonight’s opponents. Results at the weekend however, along with Blackburn’s relegation yesterday might just change his mind though.
Of course, it’s a long-shot and probably as likely as Lionel Messi playing up front for us next season, but should Spurs and Newcastle lose or draw at the weekend and we beat both Liverpool tonight and Blackburn on the final day, we could actually squeeze into the final qualifying place for next season’s Champions League.
And with that in mind – and the boost that winning an FA Cup obviously gives – Juan Mata insists “I have plenty of energy left. It is a long season and my first in England, but the benefits of winning easily outweigh the fatigue. It’s a hard stadium to play away at. Liverpool showed they have a great team and they are dangerous at Anfield. We have to win and still believe in playing the Champions League next year.”
That’s the spirit.