Chelsea’s Champions League future rests on Shakhtar match, says Mata

Juan Mata has claimed that Chelsea’s Champions League return match with Shakhtar Donetsk is an all-or-nothing encounter, with the Spain international adding that the current holders of the tournament will be facing an early exit unless they pick up three points and the match should be treated as if it was a final itself, according to the Daily Mail.

Chelsea lost to Shakhtar in Ukraine in their last European outing, going down 2-1 to leave Mircea Lucescu’s side in pole position on the group. Chelsea are second, three points behind Shakhtar and one ahead of Juventus, who meet the group’s bottom-placed side, Nordsjaelland, at the same time Chelsea host Shakhtar.

If Chelsea fail to win at Stamford Bridge they face being leapfrogged by Juventus, leaving Chelsea with a tough task to finish in the top two places and qualify for the next stage of the competition. Roberto Di Matteo would have to take his side to Turin and return with a victory against a Juventus side who have lost just once in their last 50 games.

Mata, who is poised to return to the team after missing the draw with Swansea City through injury, said: “It’s time to move on and focus on the Champions League match this Wednesday. It’s like a final for us if we want to finish first in our group. In Ukraine, Shakhtar proved to be a top team who are able to beat anyone…Even so…I’m confident that we will get a victory.

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