BENITEZ: CONCENTRATING ON US ALONE
Rafael Benitez returns to the Champions League tomorrow evening, a competition both he and the club he now manages have won.
The permutations needed for Chelsea to remain in the running this season have been well documented, but naturally the Spaniard is concentrating solely on his side defeating Danish champions Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge.
He does however believe Shakhtar Donetsk will go all out to beat Juventus, as we need them to do, but also warns we cannot take our own three points for granted.
'Sturridge on Thursday will maybe start training with the team so we will see what he can do,' the interim manager reports.
'Lampard has trained with the group for two days, but they weren't full sessions, they were light training sessions. He was fine but tomorrow is still too early. Terry was training with the physios and I have been speaking with him today but again it is still too early. We will speak again on Thursday.'
David Luiz is available again following his domestic suspension at the weekend and although the defender and his fellow Brazilian Ramires are one booking away from a one-game Champions League ban, it will not come into Benitez's selection thinking.
'The focus is on winning this game,' he says.
On the final group stage game
Nordsjaelland, with one point so far, will finish fourth in Group E but despite that and Chelsea's 4-0 win against the Danes in Copenhagen in October, Benitez has been warning his squad to focus on the task in hand.
'The players are ready mentally, they are working hard to reach the next level, but Nordsjaelland is a dangerous team because they have not too much to lose and they like to play the game on the floor, and that is always dangerous.
'But I don't see it is as needing a miracle. We have to win and wait but although Juventus are a very good team, we have confidence Shakhtar can beat them.
'Shakhtar have good players, players that want to be seen around the world and this challenge is important for them, they know they have to perform.
'It will need hard work from us and sometimes a little bit of luck, but we will try to do our job and see what happens in the other game.'
Benitez when Liverpool manager was involved in a famous Matchday Six win on the way to lifting the trophy. Needing victory by two clear goals against Olympiacos, they won 3-1 thanks to an 86th-minute strike.
'I like to play in the Champions League, and to win obviously. Tomorrow is not similar to that game [against Olympiacos] because it is not dependent only on us. You can do a lot of maths but in the end you say you have to win and that is it. It is an easy approach, prepare for winning and we cannot worry about the other result.'
On improving the results
Three days on from the defeat at West Ham, Benitez has further studied his first three games in charge at Chelsea, and has identified where more improvements must be made.
'If you look at just the results, we have continued in the same way as the previous month but the positive thing is the team was stronger in defence in first two games, and in the first half of the third game.
'After 10 games of conceding goals it was a good start for building something. We conceded goals against West Ham but it was the game we deserved to win more than the others.
'Apart from West Ham's first goal which maybe could change the game and was a foul, we have to manage a better way against teams that are strong physically. The first half was so good and the second half was a pity. There are positives and things to improve as well.
'It is my job to analyse and in the second half against West Ham I had some answers, I was changing players and I thought it could be enough bringing on Oscar and Marin, but it was not. Now I have more information and I know the problems that we have, and we will try to manage this.'
The Chelsea FC mobile app is now FREE to download. It is available on IOS, bada, Ovi and Android.