BENITEZ: FRESH FOCUS
Rafael Benitez has confirmed David Luiz will miss Sunday's trip to Brentford in the FA Cup with a recurrence of an ankle injury.
The Brazilian was a substitute in Wednesday's 0-0 draw at Swansea but ended the game limping and will now be a doubt for the midweek trip to Reading. He will join the suspended Eden Hazard on the sidelines, but John Terry could return to the starting line-up.
'At the moment we have David Luiz who will not be available,' Benitez reported. 'Terry has been training again so he is fine, maybe he will have a chance. He was doing really well in the training sessions and was on the bench just in case we needed him at the end. He is doing well, progressing and will have a chance to play.
'The rest of the team we have to check tomorrow how they are. David Luiz will not be available, two players in the African Cup of Nations, so we cannot rest too much but cannot push them too much.'
Elaborating on the situation with David Luiz, Benitez explained the defender was used on Wednesday after missing our win against Arsenal, but felt fine to play in Wales.
'He had a problem before. He had treatment, didn't play the other game and we were protecting him,' the manager said. 'I was talking with medical staff and him before the game about whether we could take the risk.
'I waited until the end and didn't want to risk him but we had to play him and after 10 or 15 minutes he felt something and we had to move him to the middle of the park. He won't be fit for this game and it will be difficult for him to be ready for Reading.'
Benitez knows we face a tough challenge against League One Brentford, who will be keen to earn local bragging rights at Griffin Park.
'I have seen some clips and have some notes. I have seen some games and was talking with the scouts so we know they are doing well,' he confirmed.
'It will be a tough game, it's a massive game for them and they will be pushing, playing between long and short passes and they try to win second balls. They're an interesting team and doing well.
'Obviously we play away, and it's a cup competition. It will be different and our approach has to be different. The pitch is not the best, totally different, but it's a game we play against a close team which will be a massive motivation for them too.'
Benitez is hoping his side can bounce back quickly after Capital One Cup disappointment in Swansea, and despite the obvious issues of fatigue, believes a game coming quickly afterwards can be beneficial to the players.
'Everybody is really disappointed because we thought we could be there, scoring goals, not conceding goals. We were doing the right things, even in the first game against Swansea we were on top and creating chances, so everyone is disappointed because it's an opportunity we have lost,' he said.
'They are professionals and know we have a difficult situation with a game each three days. It's good when you lose because you have another game in three days. Now we have another competition, another challenge and we can move forward quickly.
'As a top side you have to win when you play against a team in another division. Our pressure is because we are a top side. We will try to progress as much as we can in every competition.'