BENAYOUN: CHANCE TO IMPRESS

Posted on: Tue 19 Jun 2012

The return of Yossi Benayoun and Alex to Chelsea action against Wigan on Saturday means Carlo Ancelotti has a squad without injury for the first time this season.

The manager announced after the game that both players are in condition to begin Tuesday's game at Old Trafford if required and Benayoun agrees he could play a part in a game the midfielder believes could Chelsea must win to save the season.

'I have worked hard. I am not ready to play 90 minutes but I will give everything for as long as I can if the manager wants me,' says Benayoun who has recovered from a long-term Achilles injury.

'I have no pain so the only thing is the fitness. I did a sprint against Wigan and you think 'Oh my God' but then you recover. That is normal after nearly seven months out.

'It wasn't easy to play 45 minutes but I am happy and we won the game. We created a few chances but the Wigan keeper did a very good job and the first half with [Florent] Malouda and the second half with Fernando [Torres] he made some good saves.

'It could have been easier but the most important thing was to get the three points. It was enough for this game.'

Benayoun knows Torres better than anyone at Chelsea having been the striker's room-mate on away trips with Liverpool for three years, and he is confident the wait for the Spaniard's first goal will soon be over.

'For any midfielder it is good to play with a player like Fernando and for me he is the best striker in the world.

'I am sure he will score a lot of goals because he has a lot of quality and he was unlucky with his chance when he came on against Wigan.

'In the games he played for Chelsea he did great movement but Chelsea are used to playing with Didier [Drogba] where you play to the body and not into the space, but slowly the players know him better. When a striker misses one or two chances he loses a little bit of confidence but when Fernando scores one I promise you he will be a top scorer.'

Chelsea, and Benayoun and Torres when playing for Liverpool, have enjoyed victories at Old Trafford in recent seasons and looking ahead to the Champions League second leg, the Israeli anticipates a tactical game.

'Everyone knows well this is the most important game of the season, we have to save our season and it will not be easy because Man U are a very good team, but Chelsea during the last few years have proved they can win at United.

'People now think Man United are almost through because they won away and of course it is an important goal but when you play an English team against English team I don't think there is a big advantage with the away goal.

'It is a small advantage because Chelsea proved the last few years that they can score at Old Trafford. Man United like to attack at home but now maybe they will have to stay a little bit back because they are 1-0 up so maybe that will work for us better. We will do our best to create chances and win the game.'

The summer signing is clearly delighted to return in time to make an important contribution to Chelsea's season.

'Of course I was disappointed with the injury. The season started well, we won every game and I played a few games, scored a goal away against Wigan and thought it was going to be a very bright future, but injuries are part of the game.

'For me it was too long to be out, especially when you come to a big club like Chelsea when you don't have many chances but now I want to prove myself in the last five weeks.'

Tuesday's second leg is being beamed back to Stamford Bridge, so if you don't have a ticket to Old Trafford, you can still be part of the excitement...