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Chelsea's Mata talks up Basel qualities

While Chelsea FC hold a 2-1 first-leg lead over FC Basel 1893, Juan Mata knows they will still have to battle to reach the final, saying: "Basel are a team that will fight until the end."

Juan Mata ponders an answer during Chelsea's pre-match press conference
Juan Mata ponders an answer during Chelsea's pre-match press conference ©Getty Images

Chelsea FC's Juan Mata has called on his team-mates to be wary of complacency ahead of their UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg against FC Basel 1893 on Thursday.

The Blues welcome the Swiss Super League leaders to Stamford Bridge protecting a slender 2-1 lead after David Luiz's added-time free-kick decided the teams' first meeting last week. Midfielder Mata was keen to point out that his side still have work to do if they are to reach the showpiece in Amsterdam on 15 May.

"Scoring two goals away is always very good when you're playing in Europe, but we know we have to fight to get to the final," he said. "We got a great result in Switzerland, but now we have to play another 90 minutes. I'm sure they are not going to give up. They are a team that will fight until the end, like they did in their stadium, so it will be tough for sure."

Chelsea enter the game bidding to add their name to an illustrious list and become only the fourth club to win all three major UEFA trophies. If the history books are anything to go by, Mata and Chelsea have good reason to be positive. Rafael Benítez's men approach the match unbeaten in west London in 12 European encounters and have never lost at home in seven UEFA Europa League and UEFA Cup outings.

"After winning the Champions League last season, we now have the chance to be in another final," said the 25-year-old. "We are trying to win another trophy, which will be new for the club. It means a lot – for the club, for the players, for the supporters."

The Spanish international has been in scintillating form this term, scoring 18 goals in all competitions. If he features against Basel, it will be his 63rd appearance for club and country since returning from a packed summer schedule that included UEFA EURO 2012 and the London Olympics.

However, he was quick to stress that tiredness is never an issue for him. "I just try to be fit, every weekend, every game, because I really like to play," he said. "Since I came here, it's true that I have played a lot of games, but I enjoy it. As a footballer, I really like to train, I really like to play and I always want to play as many games as I can. I just want to carry on as I'm doing."