Rafael Benitez insists Chelsea is having a “great season”
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez claims Chelsea is having a “great season” under his rule. The Spaniard’s statements arrive after Chelsea eliminated Premier League leaders Manchester United from the FA Cup in the quarterfinal replay on Monday. A lone goal from Demba Ba was enough for Chelsea to seal their spot in the semifinals.
Rafael Benitez has been under intense scrutiny from media and Chelsea supporters following his contentious appointment as the new boss of Stamford Bridge last November. The former Liverpool manager hopes to end his stormy stay in London with FA Cup and Europa League glory, but knows that more hard work needs to be done before celebration.
“I think it's a great season at the moment,” Rafael Benitez said. “We're in the top four with a game in hand, we're in a very good position, the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
“The priority for us is to finish in the top four, we know that, but at a top side you have to win every competition. It was very important for everyone to win.
“We worked so hard at Old Trafford (to get the replay) and in the end deserved to win. This was a great game and a great victory for us.”
Rafael Benitez also defended his decision to play his second-string players in the 2-1 defeat to Southampton on Saturday. Rafael Benitez explained that his decision to change the line-up was done to keep his star players fresh for the busy schedule ahead for Chelsea.
“Before the international break we played against Manchester United, Steaua Bucharest and West Ham and we were the best in the world,” Rafael Benitez said. “We lost against Southampton and were the worst in the world, but today we won and we're the best.
“You have to have balance. We knew it could be like this, we could win or lose, but we have to carry on. We can't kill players playing them two games in a row, because then they get injured and we lose them.
“We wanted to win against Southampton and use a lot of players, especially when you have another one in less than 48 hours. It's not playing one game in three days like we have for months, it is two games in less than 48 hours.
“Our squad is not too big but we can manage if we don't have injuries. The problem now is that Gary Cahill will be out for another 15 days at least and Ashley (Cole) the same, so we have to manage with the other players.”