Chelsea's Benitez lauds Mata: He should be considered for Player of the Year
The Spaniard has scored 18 goals and provided 29 assists in all competitions this season and Benitez suggests he has been the Blues best player all campaign.
"Over the whole season, analyse his performances he should be considered for sure," said Benitez.
"He's played a lot of games with a lot of goals and assists. To have played two games every week for months, he's been so good.
"In the Premier League, you have good players in every team. Mata is our player and he's doing really well, a very good professional, and his numbers are fantastic. He is a player with 18 goals and 29 assists.
"Game intelligence is the key. He is very clever; he finds space and has quality and vision. He likes to play between the lines, in front of the centre-backs. It's not easy to find these players; that's why they're expensive. Gianfranco Zola was this type, not too big but game intelligence to get into the box."