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Champions League Semi-Final

Luiz hails Benitez influence

David Luiz praised the influence of Rafael Benitez as Chelsea bid to complete a turbulent season with European success and a return to the Champions League.

Last Updated: 04/05/13 at 11:53 Post Comment   

Rafael Benitez: Earned the praise of David Luiz after recent run of form

Rafael Benitez: Earned the praise of David Luiz after recent run of form

After sealing their place in the Europa League final against Benfica on May 15, last season's Champions League winners first turn their attentions to the battle for the Premier League top four with games against champions Manchester United on Sunday and Tottenham on Wednesday.

"All season we've tried our best, but now the team has more confidence to play together and in the philosophy of Rafa Benitez," Luiz told Chelsea TV.

"Everyone wants to play in the Champions League next year, everyone wants to win one title this season.

"We need to show the character, to show our best and to win the [Europa League] title."

The chaotic campaign saw Champions League-winning boss Roberto Di Matteo depart after the Blues became the first holders to exit at the group stage and former Liverpool manager Benitez appointed to an interim role.

The vitriol aimed at Benitez has relented of late but he could yet end the season, and his spell at Stamford Bridge, having achieved his targets before handing over to Jose Mourinho.

One national newspaper reported a deal has already been agreed for Real Madrid boss Mourinho to return to Stamford Bridge on July 1.

Although Chelsea face Everton on the final day of the season, the Blues and Benitez would receive an end-of-season boost by beating Benfica in Amsterdam.

Benitez was named manager of the month for April, but deferred praise to his squad, which he has had to rotate due to Chelsea's congested schedule.

"The players, when you rotate them and use different players, still they are performing," Benitez said.

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