Chelsea must use recent disappointments as a source of motivation as they bid to set up an FA Cup quarter-final glamour tie with Manchester United. The European champions visit second-tier Middlesbrough in the fifth round tonight, three days after a 2-0 loss at Manchester City.
It leaves Champions League qualification as Chelsea’s only realistic objective in the league this season, but the Blues do remain in contention for the FA Cup and the Europa League.
The draw for the last eight in the FA Cup dealt Rafael Benitez’s side a possible trip to Old Trafford in the next round and Mata believes that should provide enough motivation to cast recent setbacks into the shade.
Interim Chelsea coach Rafeal Benitez and centre half Gary Cahill have complained that the club are 'playing too many games' at the moment and he seems likely to shuffle his pack for the trip to the Riverside Stadium.
Striker Fernando Torres and club captain John Terry will both hope to start, having been named on the substitutes’ bench for the defeat at City.
Middlesbrough are also seeking distraction from poor league form. The north-east club have lost seven of their nine Championship games to date this year and slipped out of the play-off places after losing 2-1 at home to Millwall on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to it. It is a one-off that will lift the tensions of the Championship season,” said manager Tony Mowbray.
“I hope the supporters turn up, but it’s their hard-earned money and you can’t tell them that they have to come.
“However, we will need a great atmosphere and hope the players find a performance to make the fans proud.”
Middlesbrough will be without the ineligible trio of Josh McEachran, Kieron Dyer and Sammy Ameobi.
Boro will also be without Lukas Jutkiewicz (ankle) and Jonathan Woodgate (calf), while Stuart Parnaby, Justin Hoyte and Julio Arca remain out.
Azpilicueta has a leg injury, while Gary Cahill has a virus. So John Terry could come back into the side having been rested at Manchester City on Sunday.
Probable Line-Up: Middlesbrough: Teele; Bikey, Williams, McManus, Friend; Carayol, Leadbitter, Dyer, Hailliday; McDonald, Main.
Probable Line-Up: Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Bertrand; Mikel, Ramires; Moses, Oscar, Marin; Torres.