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

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."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

N

ow is the time for Allardyce to finally get a chance at a big club please. He is likely to have a number of great offers for his services this summer, but who will he choose? Will it be Liverpool, Real Madrid, Dortmund or Man City?

medina_sod
Allardyce leaves West Ham

I

thought exactly this when the Match of the Day pundits were peddling this line. Is it really not okay for fans of a club to have some ambition these days then?

damoceltic
Bored Of Big Sam? It's Your Right...

H

ow magnanimous off him - to leave if he's asked to by the owners? What's the alternative, bunker down in his office claiming squatter's rights if FSG want rid?

feed the bear
Rodgers: I'll go if owners want

Footer 365

Officials arrested in Switzerland ahead of FIFA meeting

Six football officials, reportedly from FIFA, have been arrested on corruption charges, Swiss authorities confirm.

Danny Ings subject of £12m Tottenham bid - Sky sources

Tottenham are ready to bid £12m for Burnley striker Danny Ings, according to Sky sources.

Eden Hazard is open to another 10 years at Chelsea

Eden Hazard wants to stay at Chelsea for years and join football's elite by leading the club to Champions League glory.

Mail Box

Europa League: Hardly The AIA Cup

A Spurs fan definitely isn't bothered his side aren't in the Europa League final tonight. Also, a warning about Michael Laudrup, and how to build a team with less than £20m.

Who Is The Most Complete Striker Ever..?

...the answer is the original Ronaldo, Gerd Muller, Cristiano or Alan Shearer, depending on who you talk to. We also have one signing per Premier League (and promoted team)...

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