Rafa: Squad not strong enough
Rafael Benitez says he has told Roman Abramovich that Chelsea's squad is not strong enough to cope with the demands of this season. Interim manager Benitez blamed the Blues' unprecedented series of major trophy failures on a lack of depth and variety in a playing pool that has also been riven by injury and suspension. Benitez has come under increasing fire for his tactics and team selection after his side blew another golden chance to end their season with silverware in Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Swansea. The Eden Hazard ball-boy saga stole what might have been even more damning headlines about Chelsea's limp performance during this week's second leg at the Liberty Stadium. Having begun the season competing on seven fronts, the soon-to-be-deposed European champions have now surrendered five pieces of silverware, four of them in semi-finals, finals or one-off matches. They now have only two trophies to play for - their Premier League title hopes are all but over - with Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Brentford looking a must-not-lose game. Confirming he had spoken to Chelsea's billionaire owner about transfer targets after Sunday's win over Arsenal, Benitez said: "We had a good conversation the other day but I have to concentrate on football and the game and tactics and all these things. That is my job." Benitez spent much of today's pre-match press conference dropping hints he did not have enough resources at his disposal and when it was suggested that was what he was effectively saying, he replied: "Yeah, I know. When I talked with them [the board], I gave them my opinion and the club, they listened to me. "They gave me their opinion, so we share opinions and we have these conversations and that's it." Benitez denied Chelsea were guilty of poor pre-season planning ahead of a campaign during which they are playing an unprecedented number of matches. But he was clearly hinting at a lack of numbers being behind the failures for which he is personally accountable: in the two trophies that were the most winnable this season - the World Club Cup and League Cup - as well as the demise of a league title challenge. Benitez said: "The money that was spent before and was spent recently is different, and the other teams are also stronger, they are spending money. "When you analyse the stats, you have to put in context or they don't have any value. "It's not just about winning trophies. "It's a key part of the game but the way and the tools that you have to win these trophies, that is the key."
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