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United can wait - Benitez

06 Mar 2013 19:24:46

United can wait - Benitez

Rafael Benitez insists Chelsea's priority is simply winning their next game.

And that is why his immediate focus falls on Thursday's Europa League clash at Steaua Bucharest, rather than Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United or securing a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League.

"We will try to progress in every competition and the next game is the most important game," Benitez said. "Now we are here, to play in the Europa League, we will try to win. On Sunday we'll be at Old Trafford and afterwards we'll concentrate on West Ham, or whatever. We know that all the competitions are important and if we can finish in the top four, everybody will be happy."

Thursday's fixture at the National Arena in Romania's capital will be the 50th competitive match of a season which began with Chelsea in contention for seven trophies; the Europa League is the unexpected eighth for the winners of last season's Champions League.

The Blues' elimination from the Champions League prompted Benitez's appointment as successor to Roberto Di Matteo and the Spaniard faces a key eight-day period, with the last-16 matches with Steaua falling either side of Sunday's FA Cup last-eight clash at Manchester United.

With United coasting to the Premier League title, for Chelsea the Europa League and FA Cup represent the only remaining chances of silverware this term.

Benitez hopes the fixture calendar remains a busy one and he is now confident he has the squad to cope.

"We know we have played a lot of games and still we want to play a lot of them until the end of the season," he said.

"That is the way of a top side when you play in so many competitions - you have to manage your squad. We have a good group of players and we can choose one or another one.

"If we do it properly, I don't think fatigue will be a problem."


PA

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