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Tuesday, 12 August 2014, 19:45

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Rafa welcomes fixture pile-up

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez says the club's fixture congestion should be welcomed as an unavoidable sign of success.

Last Updated: 30/03/13 at 14:14 Post Comment

Rafael Benitez: Says Chelsea's fixture congestion should be welcomed as a si

Rafael Benitez: Says Chelsea's fixture congestion should be welcomed as a si

Benitez's side face five games in 13 days - starting with Saturday's trip to Southampton and including quarter-finals in the FA Cup (a replay against Manchester United) and in the Europa League (against Rubin Kazan).

The former Valencia, Liverpool and Inter Milan boss admitted it will be impossible to field a full-strength team in every game but claims their heavy schedule is preferable to being knocked out of competitions.

"It is better to have this problem than be at home watching it on the telly," Benitez said.

"It is better to have this schedule because it means you are still competing.

"With a top side, the last month in the season is when you fight for trophies. We are still there and it is a positive.

"At this stage of the competition you have to win and then you can win trophies. It has to be now, in this period."

Benitez also revealed that he believes club captain John Terry has made significant progress in his recovery from a knee injury and should be able to play his part in Chelsea's quest for silverware.

"He was training with us this week and he was doing well. He is training every day and improving his fitness," Benitez added.

"It is just a question of how many games can you play? We will have four games in nine days. It is the same for everyone.

"You can't play all these games and be 100 per cent - not just him, everyone.

"We have to ensure we have a competitive team against Southampton and a competitive team against United (on Easter Monday). We have to manage the squad carefully.

"The most difficult one will be these two games (coming up) because they are so close."

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