Mata our new Zola - Lampard

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Frank Lampard has reserved special praise for the exploits of fellow midfielder Juan Mata - likening the Spaniard to a modern-day Gianfranco Zola.

The comparison can be regarded as a compliment of the highest order, with the 23-year-old playmaker having previously played down similarities made between himself and the Chelsea legend.

Lampard is relishing the opportunity to play alongside Mata in the Blues midfield, and is enjoying the fruits of his teammates creativity from a wide left position.

"He is very easy to play with because he has great technique but also awareness so you know when you make your runs he will pass it to you," he said.

"Receiving the ball he always gets it under control particularly quickly so you can make your runs with confidence. He is like all the Spanish players of the current era - they are technical and intelligent."

The two players linked up directly to break the deadlock in last weekend's derby defeat against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, with Mata teeing up Lampard to record his sixth goal of the campaign - and the England international is happy with the different playing style he brings compared to other left-sided midfielders at Chelsea over the years.

"The goal against Arsenal was one of those where you can make a run off an opponent and you know your team mate has the ability to stick it in there," he continued. "Knowing Juan is quite left-footed I could always take the chance he was going to cut back and cross from the right.

"Joe Cole was a different type of player in that Joe was a bit more direct in his running, whereas Mata is more jinky, and a bit like David Silva is at Man City, he comes inside. Juan is a bit more like Franco Zola, if I can compare with him with anyone I have played with."

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