Benitez basks in final glory

Rafa Benitez paid tribute to the performance of his Chelsea side after their dramatic Europa League final victory over Benfica.

Last Updated: 16/05/13 at 11:32 Post Comment

Rafa Benitez: Delighted with Chelsea's victory over Benfica

Rafa Benitez: Delighted with Chelsea's victory over Benfica

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Fernando Torres' opener in Amsterdam was cancelled out by an Oscar Cardozo penalty but Branislav Ivanovic struck deep into injury-time to spark Chelsea's celebrations.

Benitez was delighted with the way his players bounced back after admitting they had been outplayed in the opening 45 minutes.

"I think it was a great performance in the second half," he said. "We had some problems in the first half against a very good team, but I am really pleased for the players and everyone involved.

"We didn't have the legs and we had to adjust and push them, but in the end we deserved it because we have worked so hard the whole season."

Benitez was an unpopular appointment halfway through the season and has had a tough job as he always knew he would only be in charge until the end of the campaign, so he is thrilled to have delivered some silverware to the club.

He said: "I am really pleased and really proud because it was not easy. We have been talking about this the whole time.

"If you have to win for people to realise the job we are doing? Well, we won. Hopefully now people will say it is not bad. It depends on the perception.

"But if you analyse everything, we won the Europa League with one striker for every single game. We managed players with yellow cards. Today we only had 18 players.

"If you put everything together you will realise how hard it is. I think we did well. This is a team in transition, with young players.

"You could see the commitment of the players on the pitch. When you have a manager who will leave at the end of the season but they still fight and work hard, you have to be pleased."

Benitez has been credited with getting the best out of Torres, whose opener was his 22nd goal of the season and his 15th since Benitez was appointed interim boss in November.

"We have had a lot of players improving during the season," Benitez said. "Fernando was one of these players. A lot of people said I was appointed to bring the best from Fernando. He has improved a lot so I am really pleased.

"He has working hard with the fitness coaches and medical staff and today he was the difference again."

A great feeling

Chelsea's goalscorers Ivanovic and Torres both savoured their Europa League final win after the match.

"It is a great feeling," Ivanovic told ITV.

"This team deserves this because we have had a very difficult season and a lot of games and today was a hard game, Benfica played well.

"We scored on a set-piece and we work hard on this and the team and the fans deserve this trophy.

"It was great feeling to play in the final and another European one as a final and it is now time to celebrate."

Torres added: "I am very happy, I could not wait and it was a tough game and maybe Benfica deserved more but maybe the individual quality made the difference."

Torres admitted that Chelsea were second best in the opening half.

"The first half was not good enough at all - and we had to change our mentality to win a final and you could see a difference in the second half."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

e'll be fine, no problem. If they do get relegated, he's definitely going to ask how anyone could ever have thought that Villa were going to be fine given their problems before he came.

treeman1
Premier League Winners And Losers

S

toke though. Hmn. I don't think it was defending that made people dislike Stoke so much as the out and out cheating/nastiness they regularly displayed. That, and they kept buying the odd flair player and then ruining them (Oh! Tuncay, what were you thinking?).

megabrow (cufc)
Being Defensive About Being Defensive...

W

ell that really inspires me with confidence. No point in training, deciding on a coherent formation, or playing players in their best positions, let's just hope we get lucky.

mumbo_jimbo
Van Gaal: Luck is key

Footer 365

Manchester United winger Di Maria was 'too ugly' for Real Madrid

Former Barcelona coach claims Real Madrid sold Angel Di Maria to Manchester United because he was 'too ugly' for them.

Adam Johnson arrested

Adam Johnson arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16.

West Brom boss Pulis to talk to Sessegnon about diving

West Brom boss Tony Pulis will talk to Stephane Sessegnon about diving after the forward was booked for simulation.

Mail Box

Henderson The Best Midfielder In PL?

Jordan Henderson is named by two afternoon Mailboxers as the PL's best midfielder, while another suggests Man United are trying to emulate Barca...

Jose Settles Most Boring Team Debate...

There's lots of reaction to Chelsea and Liverpool's wins on Sunday, plus one Mailboxer asking: Who is the Premier League's best midfielder?

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company