BENITEZ: THREE THINKING

Posted on: Wed 05 Dec 2012

Rafael Benitez believes Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard can all play together successfully in a Chelsea starting line-up.

The trio was one of the main features of the early part of the season but in the last two matches they have been split up, with Mata introduced from the bench after half-time versus Fulham, and Oscar a second-half substitute against West Ham. Instead Ryan Bertrand began the first game and Victor Moses the second.

However the interim manager has explained those decisions were a lot about resting legs, and indeed he has been studying games from the autumn to find ways of helping the combination find their best form again.

'I was trying to analyse things we can do in the same way,' Benitez said.

'I can see the quality of these three players and when the team is in possession they are very dangerous, so we have to find the balance.

'Why I am changing players sometimes is they were playing too many games and you cannot be fresh if you are playing two games a week with this intensity in December. You have to manage the squad and if you have some other good players, you have to use them if you want to stay fine until the end of the season when you have to fight for trophies.

'In a game in which you can be in possession, you can use them all,' he explained. 'If it is a game you have to manage because the opposition are physically strong then you may have another approach, but they can play together because they are very good players.'

Benitez has long appreciated the potential of Eden Hazard but also notes a period of acclimatisation is needed for anyone who goes from being a club's star turn to one of many top-level players in a side.

'Hazard can play in three positions and he has great talent. I know [Lille manager] Rudi Garcia so I have information and I know he is a great player but he has to adapt also to the tempo of the Premier League, it is not the same way to play [as in France].

'I saw the player's evolution in Lille. I was following him when he was 19 and he was a good player but after that he was even better and he can change a game.

'A Lille he knew he was the key player and the way he was playing was with this feeling - I am the best player and I will do what I want to do and it will be right.

'Here you come to the maximum level in the Premier League and Champions League. You have to be always at your best and sometimes you cannot make the difference.

'It is something that he will see and learn from and he is doing well, but he can still do better because he is a great player.'

A clip of Rafael Benitez's pre-match interview with Chelsea TV can be viewed above with the full interview available now via the channel's online access.

Chelsea TV is currently available for two months for the price of one.