St. Mary's Stadium

Next Game

So'ton v Chelsea

Sunday, 28 December 2014, 14:05

Barclays Prem

Stamford Bridge

Last Game

Chelsea 2 - 0 West Ham

Friday, 26 December 2014, 12:45

Barclays Prem

Rafael Benitez offers no excuses

Rafael Benitez is adamant Manchester United were not on Chelsea's mind in the Europa League loss at Steaua Bucharest.

Last Updated: 08/03/13 at 13:05 Post Comment

Rafael Benitez: Focus turns to Manchester United clash

Rafael Benitez: Focus turns to Manchester United clash

Raul Rusescu converted a 34th-minute penalty after he was pulled back by Ryan Bertrand to give the Romanians a 1-0 advantage in the last 16 tie ahead of next week's second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Before then, last season's Champions League winners continue their FA Cup defence with Sunday's quarter-final at Old Trafford, a match Benitez insists his players were not distracted by while struggling in Bucharest.

"It's another competition and atmosphere," Benitez said.

"It will be totally different. It's another challenge for us."

Just like United, Chelsea warmed up for the FA Cup clash with a European defeat, but at least their rivals were defeated by Real Madrid.

Chelsea's priority is a top four finish in the Barclays Premier League and Champions League qualification, which may be just as well after the loss in Romania's capital.

Benitez made five changes from the side which beat West Brom, with John Terry included in central defence.

Given the captain's fitness travails, it is likely he will not be in the first XI at Old Trafford.

Terry may next be called upon for the return with Steaua, with Benitez confident of advancing to the quarter-finals.

"We know that we have to do our job now at home," Benitez said.

"In these kind of games and this kind of competition, if you don't score away it's always more difficult. Still you have to believe.

"We are disappointed, but still we have the belief we will win at home."

The decisive moment came when left-back Iasmin Latovlevici, earmarked as a dangerman by Benitez on the eve of the match, crossed with the outside of his right foot towards Rusescu, whose attempts to reach the ball were thwarted by a pull from Bertrand.

Referee Sergey Karasev booked the left-back, playing in place of Ashley Cole and exposed at the far post, and Rusescu sent the resulting spot-kick under Petr Cech.

"I think it was very soft," Benitez told ESPN.

"To give a penalty in this situation, and especially when you have so many referees in their positions, it is soft.

"You cannot change the situation but it is very soft.

"If you give the penalty, why not the (red) card? Strange."


Get £220 from your free £10 bet with Sky Bet if Chelsea win 2-0


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

really enjoyed this. Thanks F365 for another year of work avoidance - happy Christmas.

megabrow (cufc)
Our Person Of The Year: Alan Pardew

I

m no Sam Fan and this article sums him up beautifully. I always like to imagine that when he watches anything on TV and hears clapping, he stands up and aknowledges the applause, thinking its for him!

cozens
Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce

N

ah, Fergie is just having another pop at Rooney. He just wants to put him down whenever he gets a chance. Rooney is by far the best English player. Carrick is not far behind, mind. However, by elevating Carrick like that, Sir is having a dig at Wayne. Fergie is well-known for mind games like that. Good to see he's still feisty.

timbo
Van Gaal will thrive - Ferguson

Footer 365

Premier League: John Terry and Diego Costa on target as dominant Chelsea beat West Ham

Chelsea maintained their perfect home record in the Premier League after easing to a 2-0 win over West Ham.

Premier League: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho admits being a fan of West Ham ahead of Boxing Day showdown

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has backtracked on his '19th-century football' jibe at West Ham ahead of the Boxing Day showdown.

Premier League: QPR look for result against Arsenal, Rio Ferdinand in selection contention

QPR boss Harry Redknapp says Rio Ferdinand could be back in the team as the squad is rotated through the festive period.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property