BENITEZ: PHYSICAL DEMANDS

With the Blues competing in three different competitions between now and Thursday, Rafael Benitez has spoken of the importance of taking one game at a time.

Today's Barclays Premier League encounter at Southampton is followed on Monday by our FA Cup sixth-round replay against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, before we welcome Rubin Kazan to west London for the first leg of our Europa League quarter-final three days later.

Such a demanding schedule would test the depth of any squad in world football, and the Blues boss is aware of the potential pitfalls.

'For us, it's one game at a time, and every competition is the most important competition,' he stated. 'Now it's Southampton and on Monday it will be Manchester United.

'For four months we have been playing one game every three days, but two days is impossible to have fresh legs if you play 90 minutes against Southampton. That's the most difficult aspect.

'Three days is very close, four days is fine. With the information we have we could see that when we play every three days some players are a little bit tired, but two days will be impossible.

'In terms of preparation and tactics it will be fine, but physically it's impossible. The day after a game you feel really tired, two days after you are even more tired. That's the reality, so the second day will be tough for everyone.'

He went on to explain the manner in which he and his coaching staff will prepare the group in order to maximise performance levels.

'The main thing is our eyes, our knowledge and the conversations between staff,' said Benitez. 'We see the players train every day. You also have to consider the positions of players and you have to think about the other team.

'You know about the key players and you have to think about who can play here or there. After all that you have to prepare the game plan, so you have to put a lot of things together.

'First of all we see the players, then we analyse all of the information we have. We then look at positions and tactics and check scouting reports before making decisions.'