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Nigeria pair can lift Chelsea

Rafael Benitez hopes the return of Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel will breathe fresh life into Chelsea's season - beginning with Sunday's FA Cup fourth round replay against Brentford.

Last Updated: 17/02/13 at 11:14 Post Comment

Rafael Benitez: Happy to be able to call on Moses and Mikel again

Rafael Benitez: Happy to be able to call on Moses and Mikel again

Moses and Mikel were both at the Africa Cup of Nations - playing for eventual winners Nigeria - but are now back with the Blues and are expected to play some part at Stamford Bridge.

"I think they will come back with more confidence, more belief and it has to be good for the team," the Chelsea interim manager said.

"It's important to have happy and confident players around, so it's good for the team that they won and they've brought that confidence and belief back with them.

"Both of them progressed as individuals through the tournament.

"Obi has more experience and you could expect good performances from him, but Victor was coming through and I could see he has been growing and improving.

"I am really pleased for both of them, and to be so influential is a great achievement for Victor."

Also available for the west London derby are David Luiz and Demba Ba, who missed Thursday's Europa League last 16 clash with Sparta Prague through suspension and being ineligible respectively plus John Terry who has recovered from a knee injury.

"We have now more options that we didn't have before," Benitez added. "It's a great advantage if you want to give minutes to players, play with fresh legs. It can help to keep a higher tempo during the game.

"The team has won two games in a row (against Sparta and Wigan last weekend) and has to be much better now in terms of how to approach the game (with Brentford), with confidence.

"Brentford will try to be compact and counter-attack, and we are favourites and will try to do a professional job.

"From the first minute we have to push and push and try to win."

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till reckon Chelsea will go for Khedira as back up for Matic. I think it will turn out to be quite a Mourihno-y window: We'll see the squad players and youth in action pre-season, say things like well, we need not buy anybody and then the club will bid £60m for Pogba and send everybody on loan.

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would love to be a fly on the wall at the meeting between Milner and Rodgers. I don't know if flies can count, but if they can then I would be counting the number of times Rodgers used the word outstanding in his attempts to get Milner to sign.

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ell, it wouldn't be a summer without Arsenal fans fretting over losing a key player, and United throwing their weight around and muscling in on transfer deals which are (apparently) near to completion. If we can't be entertained by the football on the pitch, let's enjoy the silly off-pitch soap opera of the transfer season. Hurrah!

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