BENITEZ: WINNING MENTALITY

Posted on: Tue 08 Jan 2013

The Blues welcome Swansea City to Stamford Bridge tomorrow for a Capital One Cup semi-final first leg, our first appearance at this stage of the competition since 2008, and Rafael Benitez has his sights set firmly on a Wembley date next month.

On squad news
The Nigerian duo of Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi will be unavailable over the coming weeks due to their involvement at the African Cup of Nations.

Elsewhere, there are no fresh injury worries, although the game comes too soon for Petr Cech and long-term absentee John Terry.

Benitez, though, believes the return of the skipper could come sooner rather than later.

'We don't have any new problems,' he said. 'The good news is that Terry has been training and we are considering playing him for the Under-21s on Thursday, we will have to see how he feels.

'Hopefully he can play some minutes in the short-term. It's a positive as before he was just doing the warm up, he's getting closer but it depends on his reactions.

'It will be a different kind of game, but if he is okay and can train the day after, at least we can start considering him as an option.'

On facing Swansea and potentially winning the competition
On their previous visit to Stamford Bridge, at the beginning of last season, the Welsh side were soundly beaten 4-1.

Since that day, however, they have grown into an accomplished Premier League side, and under the tutelage of Michael Laudrup continue to improve.

Benitez has never won the competition as a manager - he lost in the 2005 final to Chelsea while in charge at Liverpool - and he is hopeful of securing his first trophy as Chelsea manager.

'We want to win every game, we know it's a semi-final and we will try to be in the final,' said the Blues manager.

'We have a lot of respect for Swansea, they are a good team and they are doing well. It could be an interesting game for the fans.

'It's important to get to the final with my team, and my team now is Chelsea,' said Benitez. 'I will try to do my best for my club, if we can win every trophy I will be very pleased.

'The mentality of these players is to win every competition and every game, we will talk about it and make sure everybody is focused. The team has been doing well in terms of motivation, we are scoring goals and not conceding too many.'

On choosing between Demba Ba and Fernando Torres
Demba Ba's brace during Saturday's 5-1 FA Cup win at Southampton was the perfect way to start his Chelsea career, and Benitez is delighted to have a selection headache between his two strikers.

'It's good for me because before I didn't have to think about that. It will be difficult, but I'm pleased to be in this position,' said the Spaniard. 'As a manager, you have to take responsibility and choose a player.

'Before it was about Fernando and keeping him fit. It's always important for a top side to have options, especially when you play a game every three days.

'It depends on them, how they feel and how they perform. There is no rule that you have to play one or the other, you have to manage it depending on the team.

'I was talking with Fernando and Demba. We have a lot of conversations about what I want to do and what I expect from them. We have two good options, they will compete and everything is positive in terms of the team.'

On our heavy fixture schedule of late
Our participation in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan last month led to a busy period on our return to the UK.

Benitez has dealt with the extra workload by rotating his squad as much as possible in order to keep players fresh, but believes it's part and parcel of life at a big club.

'When you are a top side you know you have to play twice a week, but because of Japan and the time we had to go there, we have been playing a lot of games,' said Benitez.

'It's difficult for us to plan and prepare training sessions. Yesterday's was another light session and you can't do everything you want to do. We have to try to do tactical adjustments in every session, so it's quite complicated, but in a top side it has to be like this.'

On the possibility of any more arrivals in the transfer window
Having concluded the signing of Demba Ba relatively quickly, the Blues, as ever, have been linked with a number of other players in the media.

Benitez refused to comment on possible transfer targets, insisting that he is pleased with the players he already has at his disposal.

'I am really pleased with my squad, and with my players, they are doing well and hopefully can improve,' said the Blues boss.

'It's January and it's normal that there are a lot of names in the press. If we have to do something we will do it, but I respect my own players and trust them.'

There are still some hospitality packages available for tomorrow night's game.