Rafa is out of the frying pan and into the fire as Chelsea heads to Europa League
Chelsea might have become the first Champions League holders to exit from the Group Stages of the tournament, but that doesn’t mean they’ve lost all opportunity to make a fool of themselves in Europe. The Europa League is yet to test the resolve and tactics of Rafael Benitez and it will also show us how much faith the Chelsea brass has in the former Liverpool manager.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire should aptly describe the situation of Rafael Benitez and Chelsea. The Spaniard has gather pieces from Chelsea’s woeful Champions League campaign as the London outfit prepares for hardships in the Europa League.
Rafael Benitez has asked his men to remain positive and focus on acquiring Europa League glory. The 55-year-old manager, who is hated by Chelsea fans for his statements against the club when he was with Liverpool, celebrated his first victory with Chelsea by defeating FC Nordsjaelland 6-1 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Sadly, the victory got them nowhere as Juventus picked up a 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk. Other highlights of the day included a brace from brace from Fernando Torres.
The Stamford Bridge boss told reporters that Chelsea couldn’t change their Champions League fate, but they could strive for a brighter future.
“Can we change the result of the other game? No. Can we change the situation? No. So we have to think about what we can change, which is improving and be ready for the next challenge,” Rafael Benitez said.
“The game was out of our hands. I said before that we had to do our job and, as a manager, you have to be really pleased with the performance of the team. There were 32 attempts, 18 on target, six goals, a lot of clear chances, so you have to think about the positives after this performance.
“You also have to be really disappointed because you cannot progress in the Champions League. You ask me if I will take the Europa League seriously; every competition is important for us so we will try to do our best and win if we can.”
The Europa League is viewed as an undesirable distraction which can disturb League performances. Moreover, the little financial reward Europa League offers creates minimal attraction.
“The Europa League is not important if you don't win. When you are in the semi-final or the final, everyone wants to win it,” Rafael Benitez declared. “We know that it is an important competition and we want to go as far as we can and if we can win the competition, we will try to do that.”