Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez highlights silver lining after FA Cup exit
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has pointed out the silver lining in his sides 2-1 FA Cup semifinal defeat to Manchester City on Sunday. The Spaniard believes Chelsea’s performance against Manchester City proves his side has “the legs” to win the Europa League and grab a Champions League berth.
The Stamford Bridge boss claims Chelsea is still able to record a successful season. Rafael Benitez believes elimination from the FA Cup can prove to be a blessing in disguise, since now Chelsea won’t be troubled by a hectic fixture schedule for the rest of the season.
“We wanted to go to the final, like in the Europa League, but we have to keep an eye on the Premier League as well,” Rafael Benitez said. “Now we have one less competition. We lost against a good team, did well, and deserved another goal in the second half. We take the positives. Next is Fulham and that's the priority now: the Premier League.
“Obviously, after the [City] game and the day after, we were really disappointed and a bit sad because we were very close. The day before the game against Fulham today, we're ready, focused, concentrating and just thinking about this game.”
Rafael Benitez confessed he was surprised to see his side make a slow start against Manchester City, but they must learn from their mistakes to record a successful season.
“I thought we were ready, physically and mentally, against City and had to adapt at half-time,” Rafael Benitez added. “But you could see the reaction of the team. We have to start from the beginning, not just in the second half.
“If you analyze our reaction in the second half, we saw quality, character and energy. Managing the squad is part of our job and you can see we still have the legs and some determination to win games.
“I think we have good ideas in terms of what we want to do. We know our players much better and what we can expect from them. Hopefully it will be enough. We have quality and you saw the other day we played at our level. We can put any team under pressure.”
Rafael Benitez refused to comment about Sergio Aguero’s escape from ban after the Manchester City striker made a ridiculous challenge on Chelsea defender David Luiz.
“I said after the game it's the FA who have to decide. We cannot have any influence, so we have to move on, move forward and think about our games,” Rafael Benitez continued. “Someone told me [Aguero can play against Tottenham], but I didn't know. I didn't want to be involved, and I didn't know.”
Chelsea is scheduled for a Premier League trip to Craven Cottage to play against Fulham on Wednesday.