FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: MATA OF TIME
Having watched Chelsea dispatch Brentford at the second time of asking and safely make it through to the fifth round of the FA Cup, Rafael Benitez was pleased he was able to rotate players and produce the type of performance level to break the League One club's resistance.
As in the game at Griffin Park, the Bees posed Chelsea problems and the game was scoreless at half-time, but once Juan Mata had scored soon after the restart, Oscar, Frank Lampard and John Terry showed the ruthlessness in front of goal the manager has been seeking…
'Still we couldn't score in the first half which would have been even better for us but I am pleased to score four goals and create chances,' said Benitez.
'We knew Brentford would be working hard and we knew that scoring the first goal could be the difference - they will be more open and we will have more space, and it was a question of time.
'Brentford were working very hard in the first half and to keep this intensity in the second half against a team like Chelsea would be very difficult for them.
'Mata is a very important player for us but I am also very pleased with Oscar and the rest of the team.
'Demba Ba did a great job in keeping the centre-backs busy and creating space for the players in the second line. We have good players and if they can find each other they can make the difference. Mata is sometimes the link between them.'
On John Terry's return to the starting line-up and a media report that there had been an argument between Benitez and the captain…
'JT was fine,' said the manager. 'The only way to improve is training and playing games and he is training okay now. The last two training sessions he was fine and he was playing today so it is good for the future.
'Ivanovic, Cahill, David Luiz and him have to compete and that is really good for us. We will have more options in different games and different competitions.
'We were surprised today about some comments in some newspapers that were totally rubbish. We didn't have any problems, we were just talking about football with the team. Terry was training yesterday and we had normal conversations and everything was fine. I was really surprised and disappointed [about the stories].
'Terry knows the main thing is the team winning and if he can play, it is much better. He is positive.'
On being able to rotate his team selection…
'When you have players available you can manage in a different way. Demba Ba and David Luiz couldn't play in the Europa League but they could play in this game and you can manage one or two players that you can leave out here.
'The medical department is doing a good job so we have all the players available apart from Oriol Romeu. We can change players and keep the intensity in the team.'
Brentford boss Uwe Rosler agreed with Benitez's assessment that the first goal was crucial and tiredness played a part in his side's defeat…
'Rafa paid my players a lot of respect in putting out a strong team, I didn't expect it,' said the German.
'It was a very physical team and we had to run a lot. We had a very good shape and for periods I think Chelsea was running out of ideas and by having the ball in possession, we didn't have to run so much without the ball.
'But at some stage you get tired, first and foremost mentally, and Chelsea used one of those moments to score a magic goal. We had very good control in terms of denying Mata space to receive the ball, but from a long ball he picked up a second ball and had a fantastic shot. After that it was difficult to come back.'
Rosler also mentioned David Luiz's response to a challenge he made on Jake Reeves that resulted in the Brentford player being taken off.
'The player came into our dressing room and he spoke to Jake, and I think that is a fantastic gesture from the player,' he said.