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Benitez upbeat despite exit

Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez was determined to focus on the positives after his side crashed out of the Champions League despite a 6-1 win over FC Nordsjaelland.

Last Updated: 06/12/12 at 10:27 Post Comment

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The Blues became the first defending champions not to make it out of the group stages of Europe's elite competition after Shakhtar Donetsk's 1-0 defeat to Juventus saw the Italian side advance as Group E winners.

The Ukrainians will also be in the draw for the knockout phase by virtue of their better head-to-head record against the west Londoners.

Benitez said the atmosphere in the Stamford Bridge dressing room was hollow but he at least witnessed his first win since taking charge of Chelsea while Fernando Torres scored twice to end a six-game goal drought.

"I think always when you win it is a positive. When it is at home it is even better," said the Spaniard. "The way we won, we had 32 attempts and 18 on target, is really good.

"When you win you have to be happy but at same time we are disappointed as we didn't progress. At least we showed the level and quality we asked for.

"We now have to think about Sunderland (on Saturday) and the Europa League.

"But the game was so good today and we can see a lot of positives for the future. We pressed well, we created chances and scored a lot of goals.

"If you ask ask about Fernando also he scored goals. He has to score. He was playing well and the team was helping him. If we create chances he will score goals."

One game at a time

Chelsea's embarrassing display overall in Europe compounds the poor domestic form that has seen them go seven league games without a win, although Benitez believes Wednesday night's win can kick-start their campaign.

"I'm sure that, playing at this level, we can do whatever we want, but we have to start that in the next game," he said, looking ahead to the trip to Sunderland.

"My idea is one game at a time, but if you remember the four games we've already played there was only 45 minutes we did not play at the right level.

"Manchester City was a difficult game but we performed more or less against one of, if not the, best teams in the Premier League.

"Against Fulham we could have won and had a lot of chances, too. The first half against West Ham was good so everything I am seeing from the players is good, is positive.

"They are progressing, they are improving and they are adjusting to my ideas - the little things we are trying to change - so I think I have to be pleased."

As well as the overall team performance, which included goals from David Luiz - who opened the scoring from the spot - Gary Cahill, Juan Mata and Oscar, Benitez was buoyed by Torres' showing.

"I hope [it is a springboard for him]," Benitez said. "He's shown his desire and quality at the same time.

"If we can play at this level, then I think he can score more goals."

His goals, though, were not enough to prevent Chelsea dropping into the Europa League - a competition many see as an unwanted distraction.

"The Europa League is not important if you don't win," Benitez said. "When you are in the semi-final or the final, everyone wants to win it.

"We know that it is an important competition and we want to go as far as we can and if we can win the competition, we will try to do that."

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

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o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

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