Chelsea's Juan Mata promises top-four Premier League finish
Juan Mata has insisted Chelsea will be playing Champions League football next season.
Last Updated: 14/04/13 4:06pm
The Spanish international has flourished in his second year at Stamford Bridge, but his fine form has come against a backdrop of managerial disharmony and inconsistent league form.
Although they face Manchester City in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Chelsea have lost three of their last seven league matches and are now in a tight battle with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal to finish in the top four.
It has prompted fears that Mata might be tempted back to his native Spain should Chelsea miss out, but the 24-year-old dismissed the prospect.
He told The Sun: "I will say now I'm really sure we will finish in the top four and will be playing Champions League football next season."
Chelsea will look to Mata to provide a creative spark against Manchester City at Wembley, but he believes he will have his work cut out against Yaya Toure.
Mata feels the Ivory Coast international does not have a weak part in his game and must be the first player Chelsea shackle if they are to reach the final.
He added: "Yaya is one of the best midfielders in the world. He is the complete player. He can defend, attack, score, dribble, he has great skills and he is so tall and powerful.
"It is so difficult to defend against him. We have very good midfielders, too, and will try to deal with him, but not just him - all their team, because City are a very, very good side."
Home of football
Sunday's game will be Mata's fourth visit to Wembley and the former Valencia maestro already regards it as one of his most treasured stadiums to play at.
He explained: "In my first season in England I won my first trophy with Chelsea there - the FA Cup - so it is a very special venue for me.
"But even when I was playing in Spain, I realised that Wembley was one of the most important football stadiums in the world because of all its history staging the big matches and so many finals.
"Then, after I came to England, I experienced what it was like to actually play there. My first match there was for Spain against England last season and then with Chelsea I really enjoyed the semi-finals and final of last year's FA Cup."