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Benitez: Chelsea can cope

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez is confident his side can cope with their fixture pile-up and progress to two cup finals.

Last Updated: 12/04/13 at 16:45 Post Comment

Rafa Benitez: Hoping to lead his team into two cup finals this season

Rafa Benitez: Hoping to lead his team into two cup finals this season

The Blues will face Swiss side Basel in a two-legged Europa League semi-final after edging past Rubin Kazan on Thursday but before then they face Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday.

Benitez's side also have seven Premier League games left as they look to secure a top-four finish.

"We've tried to manage our squad and we have players with some fresh legs," said Benitez. "Hopefully we will be fine. We have too many games and we have to use the squad. Everyone has to be on their toes.

"They are doing really well. I was praising them yesterday and today. You could see last night (Paolo) Ferreira had to play at left-back and he'd not played for a while. (Nathan) Ake is a young player. (Victor) Moses and Yossi (Benayoun) were working hard. They did really well."

Sunday's match against a City side who have not conceded a goal in this season's FA Cup will be Chelsea's sixth game in 16 days.

City beat Chelsea 2-0 in February at Eastlands, with Frank Lampard missing a penalty, but Benitez believes his team have learned from the experience.

"They (City) are a good team in a good position in the table, and did well against Manchester United the other day," added Benitez. "We know it'll be difficult but it's a semi-final in a massive competition.

"We know what we did wrong against them in the league and we'll make sure we don't make the same mistakes.

"They're a good team, a strong squad. They have a manager with experience and they have confidence at the moment. We know we'll have to do our best if we want to progress."

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o Brendan is full of sh!t, who'd have thought it eh?

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resumably, you wanted to keep the version of Downing that was never seen at Anfield. The one that another manager has managed to re-create. The one you passed over.

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he uber commercialisation of the 90s has led to the point where this overly familar, try hard, jolly hockey sticks type fronts up a major football match on a weekly basis. Unlike the great presenters of yesteryear, I doubt he would even recognise the scent of Brut.

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