Stamford Bridge

Next Game

Chelsea v Swansea

Saturday, 08 August 2015, 17:30

Barclays Prem

Benitez taking Sparta seriously

Rafael Benitez is taking the Europa League seriously, beginning with Chelsea's last-32 first leg at Sparta Prague on Thursday.

Last Updated: 13/02/13 at 19:14 Post Comment

Rafael Benitez: Europa League is a massive competition

Rafael Benitez: Europa League is a massive competition

Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez is determined that last season's Champions League winners take the Europa League seriously, beginning with the last-32 first leg at Sparta Prague on Thursday.

The match at the Generali Arena is Chelsea's first away fixture in Europe since Roberto Di Matteo was sacked following the holders' exit from the Champions League group stages.

"This is a massive city, massive club and a massive competition," Benitez said.

"We are really pleased to be here. Obviously, you cannot change things. The Champions League is a massive competition, but the Europa League is also a massive competition.

"We play against an historic team. We're really pleased and, for me, I try to give my players the right message.

"We know it will be tough. It's against a great team, a great club and a great city."

Benitez has a contract until the end of the season and would not look towards the possibility of taking permanent control should Chelsea win the Europa League.

"We have to concentrate on the future and the future is tomorrow," said Benitez, whose position could yet be under threat with four wins in 11 games.

"I cannot talk about what will happen in three months' time. We have to concentrate on this competition - it's quite difficult - and tomorrow will be a tough game, so that is my priority."

The Blues are at near full strength, with David Luiz suspended, Demba Ba ineligible and Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel rested following their African Nations Cup win with Nigeria.

Captain John Terry was the main fitness concern for Chelsea after missing the 4-1 Barclays Premier League win over Wigan with an inflammation on his knee. He is fit to be selected.

Benitez said: "There was no reaction to his knee (from training), that is positive. It's a question of time."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

his is all good fun, but anyone who thinks United are 4th best in England for anything more than a blip is properly f***ing mental. And Domenech is properly f***ing mental.

megabrow (cufc)
Schneiderlin must join United - Domenech

I

f the answer is Matt Phillips, the question should never be Who is one of your major transfer targets?

jelasfirsttouch
The Twosome Gossip

I

s this Chris Smalling playing the 'Race' card?

hump3.
Smalling wants United race

Footer 365

Barcelona sign Arda Turan from Atletico Madrid

Barcelona have announced a deal to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Arda Turan.

Koeman: Utd Schneiderlin bid 'not serious'

Ronald Koeman says Southampton are yet to hear back from Manchester United since rejecting a bid for Morgan Schneiderlin that "wasn't serious".

Benzema facing uncertain future at Real

Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez is reportedly planning to play Cristiano Ronaldo as a lone striker in a move which could sideline Karim Benzema.

Mail Box

Van Persie: Really Expensive Wallpaper

He was bought to cover the cracks that nearly brought down the house, says one Man United fan. We also have mails on Brendan, the WWC, Aguero and...

Farewell Robin, You Were Wonderful

One Mailer looks back fondly at Robin van Persie's time at Old Trafford as he nears the exit. Plus Turkish delights, being inspired, David Ospina, handballs & decisions...

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