Rafa urges men to defeat Tottenham after “massive” win over Man Utd
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez asked his men to test themselves by securing a Champions League berth for next season by defeating Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday. The newly found confidence from the Spaniard comes after his side earned a “massive” victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday night.
The scoreline was only 1-0 and it was Juan Mata who scored on a deflected shot in the final moments of the game, yet even Sir Alex Ferguson admits “Chelsea deserved the win”.
Presently, Chelsea are sitting third on the Premier League table. The Blues are a point above Arsenal, but with a game in hand. Tottenham Hotspur, who have played as many games as Chelsea, are positioned fifth, are three points away from the Blues.
With a goal difference of 16 goals between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, Rafael Benitez feels safe to know that even in defeat his side will be sitting third on the table. Nonetheless, the former Liverpool manager has urged his men to gun their engines for victory.
“It is massive for us, because we knew we needed to get six or seven points and hopefully we can stay there until the end. It was an important step forward,” Rafael Benitez said.
“This game was difficult but Wednesday will be even more important. Still it's crucial because winning we will be there but it's even more important to them so it should be a great atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. We will go and try to win because we know we can guarantee the top four [finish].
“The goal difference is too big so if we win we can be there but Tottenham are a good team so it's a big game for both. We are in the driving seat, hopefully we can stay there until the end.”
Rafael Benitez also commented on the surprise absence of Chelsea’s Belgian star Eden Hazard. Rafael Benitez informed Eden Hazard had “a little problem in his calf”, before the game, which is why he was benched. The Spaniard isn’t yet sure whether Eden Hazard will be able to play against Tottenham Hotspur.
“He had a little problem in his calf,” Rafael Benitez said. “He could be available [for Spurs] but it's not easy. He is working with the physios so we will see.”
The interim boss reserved special praise for Juan Mata after the Spain international made another important contribution to Chelsea’s success this season.
“He could be player of the year for everything he did for us,” Rafael Benitez said. “He is a very influential player in the game. Juan Mata is a great player and has the intelligence and ability to change the game.”