BENITEZ: FROM SWISS TO SWANS

Posted on: Sun 28 Apr 2013

So far the Thursday/Sunday Europa League routine when the first match has been abroad has yielded the following results in the weekend game - a 4-0 FA Cup replay win over Brentford, a draw in the same competition at Old Trafford when we recovered from 2-0 down, and the semi-final reverse against Manchester City at Wembley.

Now following hard on the heels of a European away win Switzerland comes a Barclays Premier League match, and given the finely poised contest for top-four places and our record in three matches against Swansea City this season, nothing less than a top-level Chelsea display today is likely to do.

Rafael Benitez is consistent and clear in how he is to manage the team in the final month of the season - the line-up will continue to change from game to game.

'Especially when you go away and you have to travel back late in the night and you have to start again in two days' time, it is important to manage the squad, to give opportunities to different players and they have to be ready,' says the Spaniard.

'This season is a transition period with young players and a lot of games, and it is not normal to play so many games, and so many important games.

'We have a young squad and in these games it is important to give them confidence so they believe they can do it.

'When changing players and giving different players different games, it will be much better for them because they will have fresh legs for the next game, they can compete and they can maybe win a trophy.'

The Europa League semi-final first-leg win in Switzerland was a sign of a squad in good condition and frame of mind reckons Benitez. However with the one-goal winning margin not reflecting the amount of opportunities created against Basel, he hopes for a more ruthless performance in front of goal this afternoon.

'We know we have to perform every single game until the end of the season and changing players, giving them the opportunity to show something is what we have to do. They have to be ready and on Thursday we could see they were ready.

'When you have a lot of chances to score you want to be more clinical and it is something we have seen during the season, a lot of games when we were doing really well in attack but still we didn't take our chances. But I think if you ask 18 other managers in the Premier League they would maybe say the same.'

Today's match against Michael Laudrup's side could be seen as a chance to redress the balance against our Capital One Cup semi-final opponents, but that will not be the primary motivation insists Benitez.

'We have to win because we want to be in the top four, it doesn't matter the name of the other team. Swansea are a good team but we are a good team and we want to win, it doesn't matter what team we are playing against.'