CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: PRAISE FOR INTERNATIONAL BLUES
Rafael Benitez kept a close eye on Chelsea players in action for their countries this week and saw some notable achievements.
'The international break is normally a problem, but this one we can consider positive,' Benitez told Chelsea TV.
'Ashley Cole winning 100 caps is amazing, a great achievement for anyone and for a player in the England squad which is very competitive it is even better.
'Frank's was a great goal. He was scoring goals for us already and he is doing well. Again, 94 caps is a fantastic achievement and he can make 100 which would be really positive because it will mean he is fit and doing really well.'
Chelsea's Brazilians were rare among our squad in tasting defeat this midweek, but there was still good news for David Luiz who played his first game for two weeks following a calf strain. He was substituted after 78 minutes.
'We were thinking that maybe he could play less minutes but I saw that he is fine and to be captain of Brazil is always massive,' Benitez said.
'We know how big Brazil is in terms of the squad and the players available, the size of the country and everybody living football with passion - so to be the captain is a great achievement for David Luiz.
'Cesar Azpilicueta has improved a lot because he was training very well with a very good mentality. Juan Mata did well in the Spain game but the debut of Azpilicueta is fantastic news for us and means that he is a great player for the future. It not just a debut with a normal team, it is a debut with the champions of the world.
'Now the players are coming back fit so hopefully we can have some good news and everybody can be available, and they will be happy because they were doing well for their teams.'
One player who had to withdraw from international action this week was Demba Ba. His broken nose kept him out of Senegal's friendly international. Instead he travelled to Italy to have a protective mask made and has been training with it on at Cobham, as can be seen in the picture below.