Rafa pleased with Chelsea’s Europa League effort
Chelsea’s interim manager Rafael Benitez admits his side should have been better defensively, yet the Spaniard is pleased to see his team enter the semifinal stage of Europa League. Chelsea faced a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Rubin Kazan, yet they managed to grab a last-four spot because of their 5-4 aggregate.
Fernando Torres drew first blood for Chelsea during the third minute of the game. Rubin Kazan fought valiantly to record the equalizer, which came through Ivan Sierra Marcano in the 51st minute of the game. Four minutes later, Victor Moses put Chelsea in front again with a brilliant strike, however Chelsea gave away a soft penalty-kick after Cesar Azpilicueta was booked for fouling inside the box. Bebars Natcho converted the penalty kick into a goal to give Rubin Kazan the lead for the first time in the night.
Chelsea are now scheduled to face Manchester City for the FA Cup semifinal tie at the Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, who were benched against Rubin Kazan are expected to be back in the squad. For now, Rafael Benitez was satisfied with his selection and team’s performance, although he admitted there was a room for improvement, especially defensively.
“In the circumstances, with a tough pitch, some players out and lots of young players its a professional job,” Rafael Benitez said.
“I'm really pleased with the effort of the players. The second goal we could have done better but they were pushing and pushing.
“We needed an early goal and Fernando has scored it. I'm pleased with the effort but disappointed because they were pushing and pushing and we could have done a little bit better in defence, but credit the players because we have gone through.”
With the mega-match against Manchester City only a couple of days away, Rafael Benitez explained that squad rotations have become vital for Chelsea because of their hectic schedule. The Spaniard admits this was the reason behind the absence of a couple first-team players against Rubin Kazan.
“We played a number of players who will not play on Sunday but the good thing is we can continue in another competition and that's good for the squad,” Rafael Benitez added.