English Premiership

Benitez rues fixture pile-up

2013-01-28 17:42
Rafael Benitez (File)
London - Interim manager Rafael Benitez admits his Chelsea players are beginning to suffer from the demands of a congested fixture list after securing an FA Cup replay at third-tier Brentford.

The Spaniard was relieved his side recovered after twice falling behind to the League One club, eventually clinching a 2-2 draw through Fernando Torres's late equaliser.

Benitez is anxious for Chelsea, the cup holders, to progress as far as possible in the competition as he attempts to make his mark during his seven-month stay at Stamford Bridge.

But he says the last thing his side needs is an extra game in the schedule after a gruelling spell that has included December's trip to Japan for the Club World Cup and the losses of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses this month to Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations campaign.

"For us, it's important to do well in every competition," Benitez said.

"The top four is the priority, but we want to progress in the other competitions. The FA Cup is massive. Chelsea won it last season and we will try to do it again."

But he added: "It's very difficult; we are playing a game every three days. How can you train the day before? How can you train the day after?

"We have to use the same players all the time, so hopefully the players that are injured will be able to come back, and hopefully the players at the Africa Cup of Nations will be back sooner rather than later."

Chelsea's trip to Griffin Park was a testing experience for Benitez and his players, with the Blues out-played for long periods by opponents who took the lead first through Marcello Trotta's opener and then Harry Forrester's penalty.

The half-time introduction of Juan Mata lifted the visitors, who levelled through Oscar and then finally kept themselves in the cup through Torres.

Benitez again found himself the subject of abuse from Chelsea supporters, who turned their anger on the Spaniard after he decided to introduce full-back Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of Demba Ba when his side were trailing.

But Benitez dismissed the reaction and said: "I have said before that I am just concentrating on my job. I try to stay really focused and I can guarantee Juan Mata changed the game when he came on.

"The club said they wanted a manager with experience and I will try to do my job."

He added: "The positive was the reaction of the team, but the negative is that we are using some players too often.

"We are a strong team but we have problems because certain players are playing 90 minutes all the time. It's not easy."

Chelsea were again without goalkeeper Petr Cech and defender David Luiz, and both players remain doubtful for the mid-week trip to Reading.

Benitez said: "We have to see how Petr Cech and David Luiz are tomorrow (Monday), and see how they progress. Cech has a niggle and David Luiz was doing well, but with the games so close together, we need to be sure on him."

Brentford manager Uwe Rosler admitted his side enjoyed a slice of luck when late Chelsea claims for a penalty were turned down after Harlee Dean appeared to handle a Juan Mata cross.

"We deserved that bit of luck," said the former Manchester City striker.

"Harlee Dean did handle, but the hand was at a very close distance. There is some football god up there.

"I'm slightly disappointed we didn't win, but overall my players did fantastic and deserve a lot of praise. They have earned the right to play at Stamford Bridge. Individually and collectively, they were top-drawer."

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

10 facts about swimming you didn't know

This will make you want to jump right into the pool.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Snors with a cause - creating awareness of male health
Inspiring: Rock climbing with just one leg
Watch! Skateboarders racing cyclists
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!
Fixtures
01 November 2014
Newcastle United v Liverpool, St. James' Park 14:45
Stoke City v West Ham United, Britannia Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Burnley, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 17:00
Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, King Power Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Queens Park Rangers, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Hull City v Southampton, The KC Stadium 17:00
02 November 2014
Manchester City v Manchester United, Etihad Stadium 15:30
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur, Villa Park 18:00
03 November 2014
Crystal Palace v Sunderland, Selhurst Park 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

How long will Mario Balotelli last at Liverpool?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.