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Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez plays down Lampard and Luiz row

Updated 12 Apr 2013 06:17:08

Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez plays down Lampard and Luiz row

Rafael Benitez is content for his Chelsea players to disagree after his side advanced to the Europa League semi-finals despite a quarter-final second-leg loss to Rubin Kazan in Moscow.

Frank Lampard and David Luiz had a heated exchange while leaving the Luzhniki Stadium pitch at half-time, when Chelsea led through Fernando Torres' fourth-minute strike. The Russian side went on to win 3-2, but it was the Blues who progressed 5-4 on aggregate.

"It's always good to have players arguing about things that can happen on the pitch," Benitez said. "You can correct these things at half-time. We were talking about that, we were adjusting positions and I think it's fine, so it's not a problem."

The second half was fraught for the Blues as Ivan Marcano and Gokdeniz Karadeniz scored headers either side of Victor Moses' curled effort and Bebras Natcho netted a 75th-minute penalty to set-up an anxious conclusion.

But Chelsea are now in a third semi-final of the season - four, if you include the Club World Cup - after advancing to the last four of the Capital One Cup and FA Cup, but must improve for Sunday's Wembley semi-final with Manchester City.

Benitez was not too downbeat about the loss, which followed Chelsea's 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge a week ago.

"You have to analyse the two games in context," added Benitez after Chelsea's 58th game of the season. "We had a good result coming here, a different environment and different things we had to manage.

"I think we did well. It's a pity we lost the game, but we went through, that was the main thing. I'm really pleased with the team, with the effort, with a lot of players. They were giving everything on the pitch.

"We managed the squad and hopefully we'll have some fresh legs for Sunday too."

The second half was fraught for the Blues as Ivan Marcano and Gokdeniz Karadeniz scored headers either side of Victor Moses' curled effort and Bebras Natcho netted a 75th-minute penalty to set-up an anxious conclusion.


PA

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