Benitez left players such as Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Ashley Cole on the bench for the visit of the bottom side and finished on the wrong end of a shock 1-0 loss.
The Spaniard was criticised for his team selection but has pointed out that he was praised during his first month in charge for the way he managed his resources during a hectic phase of the season.
"You cannot be criticised and praised for the same thing," said Benitez. "Rotating players because we were playing so many games was really good.
"We had more players, we could use the squad and, after one game, they are saying, 'Oh, you were changing players'.
"We know how the players are, we know the level of our players, and we trust our players.
"We can manage the squad and we have to manage the squad, because we have one game every three days."
And Benitez says Wednesday's setback will not deter him from rotating his squad in the future.
Asked if he would continue to rest players, he said: "Yeah, if it's necessary.
"They couldn't keep playing games and games because the risk of injuries and tiredness is there.
"The other day, I think that two or three of the players, they were a little bit more tired than the others and maybe that is the reason why we didn't play with the tempo that we want to play with."
Benitez, who is preparing his side to face Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday, also admitted he was surprised to hear injured captain John Terry had spoken out over Frank Lampard's possible move away from the club.
The Spaniard said: "I was surprised when they told me but that's it. I don't have any problem. We have to talk. I think that the priority is to concentrate on matters on the pitch and we will try to do this."