Rafa happy with Chelsea form but not sure about Champions League qualification
Interim manager Rafael Benitez has urged his men to concentrate on maintain their winning streak ahead of yet another busy schedule of games. The Spaniard understands squad rotation will be vital to Chelsea’s success since his side is scheduled for four games in ten days.
Chelsea replaced Tottenham Hotspur from the third spot on the Premier League table with a 2-1 win over Sunderland on Sunday. The victory ended Chelsea’s first spell of busy fixtures in April during which they won three of their four games.
Now, Rafael Benitez and Co. brace for their matches with Rubin Kazan, Manchester City, Fulham and Liverpool. The Stamford Bridge boss has been slowly gaining support from the Chelsea fans, but had he losses he would be placed under the sword once again.
Rafael Benitez claims he isn’t surprised by the success his side has recorded as of late.
“I'd be surprised if I wasn't watching them every training session and we didn't do our homework,” Rafael Benitez said. “We analyze things, talk with them and the medical staff, so we have a lot of information and afterwards we pick the team. If we win I picked the right team, if we lose it's my fault but we try to manage every game.
“With too many games in a short period of time, it's important to keep the team winning. You can play anyone and they have to be ready to give something. We have four games in the next [10 days] and we cannot stop, so we have to get results and have the right mentality.”
Chelsea, who were unconvincing with their victory, were able to grab three points over Sunderland’s new manager Paolo di Canio. Chelsea are now on level terms, 58 points, with Tottenham Hotspur, but a better goal difference and a game in hand has given the Blues an advantage.
“I was really pleased with the team,” Rafael Benitez continued. “We didn't start well and gave the ball away easily. We conceded a late goal but had a good reaction in the second half and were very positive.
“Fernando made an impact quickly and we were on top of them, scored two goals and had control of the game. We didn't score the third, we had to defend and after playing four games in eight days I am really pleased. The most important thing was to get the result and we did it.
“We're trying to play well, you'll win more games, but sometimes you cannot. The other team was organized and we didn't start well. The most important thing was we showed character and determination in the second half, and scored two goals.”
In spite of acquiring third place on the Premier League table Rafael Benitez is not confident about a confirmed spot in the Champions League. With Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool fighting to enter the top-four, the Spaniard believes the battle will last till the last game of the season.
“I don't think it will be possible,” Rafael Benitez said. “Tottenham and Arsenal are pushing, and Everton, so we have to carry on until the end. Hopefully we can do well next week in the cup competitions and after against Fulham and Liverpool.
“We can't say it will be done because they will be pushing too. It's important to have everyone sticking together and pushing in the same direction. It's very simple and very clear.”