Benitez basks in final glory

Rafa Benitez paid tribute to the performance of his Chelsea side after their dramatic Europa League final victory over Benfica.

Last Updated: 16/05/13 at 11:32 Post Comment

Rafa Benitez: Delighted with Chelsea's victory over Benfica

Rafa Benitez: Delighted with Chelsea's victory over Benfica

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Fernando Torres' opener in Amsterdam was cancelled out by an Oscar Cardozo penalty but Branislav Ivanovic struck deep into injury-time to spark Chelsea's celebrations.

Benitez was delighted with the way his players bounced back after admitting they had been outplayed in the opening 45 minutes.

"I think it was a great performance in the second half," he said. "We had some problems in the first half against a very good team, but I am really pleased for the players and everyone involved.

"We didn't have the legs and we had to adjust and push them, but in the end we deserved it because we have worked so hard the whole season."

Benitez was an unpopular appointment halfway through the season and has had a tough job as he always knew he would only be in charge until the end of the campaign, so he is thrilled to have delivered some silverware to the club.

He said: "I am really pleased and really proud because it was not easy. We have been talking about this the whole time.

"If you have to win for people to realise the job we are doing? Well, we won. Hopefully now people will say it is not bad. It depends on the perception.

"But if you analyse everything, we won the Europa League with one striker for every single game. We managed players with yellow cards. Today we only had 18 players.

"If you put everything together you will realise how hard it is. I think we did well. This is a team in transition, with young players.

"You could see the commitment of the players on the pitch. When you have a manager who will leave at the end of the season but they still fight and work hard, you have to be pleased."

Benitez has been credited with getting the best out of Torres, whose opener was his 22nd goal of the season and his 15th since Benitez was appointed interim boss in November.

"We have had a lot of players improving during the season," Benitez said. "Fernando was one of these players. A lot of people said I was appointed to bring the best from Fernando. He has improved a lot so I am really pleased.

"He has working hard with the fitness coaches and medical staff and today he was the difference again."

A great feeling

Chelsea's goalscorers Ivanovic and Torres both savoured their Europa League final win after the match.

"It is a great feeling," Ivanovic told ITV.

"This team deserves this because we have had a very difficult season and a lot of games and today was a hard game, Benfica played well.

"We scored on a set-piece and we work hard on this and the team and the fans deserve this trophy.

"It was great feeling to play in the final and another European one as a final and it is now time to celebrate."

Torres added: "I am very happy, I could not wait and it was a tough game and maybe Benfica deserved more but maybe the individual quality made the difference."

Torres admitted that Chelsea were second best in the opening half.

"The first half was not good enough at all - and we had to change our mentality to win a final and you could see a difference in the second half."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

want to spend more time with my tit-for-tat Autobiographies . He probably didn't say.

megabrow (cufc)
Keane leaves Aston Villa

B

elieve in the dream Ashley. I have a hot tub, I still think I can get all The Saturdays in there for nekkid sexyfuntime. Failing that, Adele.

hump3.
Young: Man United target title

C

onclusions...we are truely living the dream now

dead yeti
Take Your Marks In The Premier League Sack Race

Footer 365

Premier League: Swansea manager Garry Monk defends Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers

Swansea manager Garry Monk has leapt to the defence of under-fire Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers.

Premier League: West Brom manager Alan Irvine sees a defensive weakness in Arsenal

West Brom manager Alan Irvine hopes Arsenal's gung-ho attitude will be their undoing at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

Premier League: Southampton manager Ronald Koeman confident of continued success

Manager Ronald Koeman believes Southampton can thrive this term and is relishing taking on the Premier League big boys.

Mail Box

Don't Write Arsenal Off Yet (For Third)

That's the message from the afternoon mailbox, which also suggests Manchester City should look to bin Manuel Pellegrini. Can he take them any further?

Sanchez: A Sliding Doors Moment For Pool

One Liverpool fan regrets the club's failure to sign Alexis Sanchez and thinks Brendan Rodgers and Co should now target the domestic cups. A lot has changed in 12 months...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property