Stamford Bridge

Next Game

Chelsea v Liverpool

Sunday, 10 May 2015, 16:00

Barclays Prem

Stamford Bridge

Last Game

Chelsea 1 - 0 C Palace

Sunday, 03 May 2015, 13:30

Barclays Prem

Benitez ready for trophy hunt

Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez is ready for the challenge of the club's five games in a 13-day period.

Last Updated: 28/03/13 at 15:38 Post Comment

Rafael Benitez would much rather deal with the challenge of five games in a 13-day period that could define Chelsea's season than be at home watching other teams chasing trophies on television.

Chelsea launch a hectic fortnight when they tackle Southampton in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday before hosting Manchester United in an FA Cup quarter-final replay at lunchtime on Monday.

Benitez will then switch his attention to the first leg of Chelsea's Europa League quarter-final against Rubin Kazan, with the second leg to follow in Russia on April 11 after a league clash with Sunderland.

It is a gruelling schedule and Benitez admitted it will be impossible to field a full-strength side in every game because players cannot perform at their peak twice inside 48 hours.

But Chelsea's interim manager insisted it is better to face a packed calendar than already be knocked out of the competitions.

"It is better to have this problem than be at home watching it on the telly," Benitez said.

"It is better to have this schedule because it means you are still competing.

"With a top side, the last month in the season is when you fight for trophies. We are still there and it is a positive.

"At this stage of the competition you have to win and then you can win trophies. It has to be now, in this period."

John Terry was one of only five Chelsea players who trained at the club during the international break, following his retirement from England duty.

Benitez confirmed the break had been beneficial for Terry, breaking the "vicious circle" the Chelsea captain had found himself in after injuring his right knee in February.

Terry has been unable to play consistently for Chelsea but Benitez believes he made a step forward over the last week.

"He was training with us this week and he was doing well. He is training every day and improving his fitness," Benitez said.

"It is just a question of how many games can you play? We will have four games in nine days. It is the same for everyone.

"You can't play all these games and be 100 per cent - not just him, everyone.

"We have to ensure we have a competitive team against Southampton and a competitive team against United. We have to manage the squad carefully.

"The most difficult one will be these two games (coming up) because they are so close."

Benitez is not concerned that his players may consider the FA Cup tie with Manchester United to be the priority.

"They want to finish in the top four and guarantee Champions League football for next season so hopefully that will be the motivation for them," he said.

Benitez has been impressed with Southampton this season, both under Nigel Adkins, whose team secured a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in his final game as manager, and now under Mauricio Pochettino.

"He is doing well. It is not an easy job for a new manager," Benitez said.

"They were doing well with Adkins. I had a very good opinion of them before and I have a good opinion now."

Southampton remain in danger of relegation but Benitez said: "My feeling is they have a good team, they have a good understanding of the game and some good players so they have a chance (of staying up)."


Get £60 from your free £10 bet with Sky Bet if Lampard scores first


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

still can't see the Phil Jones thing that some people go on about. Whenever I watch him play it's a repeat of headless chicken meets a gurning Bambi on ice for 90 minutes.

diabolicaldiaby
F365's Top Ten Defenders Of The Season

P

robably the first list I've come across in a long time where I agree with a large majority of what was written. Can't agree with everything though, Zaba has had an awful season by his standards, I'd put Monreal (a player who I've never rated) up there, gotta give credit where it's due, he's really stepped up his game.

scroteymcbooger
F365's Top Ten Defenders Of The Season

S

ome top analysis here..... UNITED WOULD BE TOP IF IT WEREN'T FOR ALL THEM GAMES THEY LOST

benvo81
United Progress Stifled By Bottom-Half Record

Footer 365

Spanish football could be shut down from May 16 over TV rights argument

La Liga faces being shut down from May 16 over an argument between Spain's football federation and the Government.

Real Madrid the most valuable team in football ahead of Barcelona

Real Madrid have retained their place as the most valuable football team, despite a drop in figures, according to Forbes magazine.

Jose Mourinho agrees new Chelsea deal, claim reports

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has verbally agreed a two-year extension to his contract, according to reports.

Mail Box

Coutinho Better Than Cazorla And Cesc...

Philippe Coutinho has outperformed Santi Cazorla AND Cesc Fabregas, while Arsenal need no new signings. We also have mails on Olivier Giroud and shopping lists...

Giroud Is More Than Good Enough...

Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott are integral to Arsenal's title hopes next season. There's also more on handballs, Juventus, and Ronaldo holding Bale back...

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