FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: TIGHTEN UP

Posted on: Thu 09 May 2013

Rafael Benitez admitted his disappointment as he reflected on a frantic encounter at Stamford Bridge, in which we had twice led against Spurs.

We had taken an early lead through Oscar's back-post header and regained the advantage when Ramires poked home Fernando Torres's through ball, but thanks to Emmanuel Adebayor's solo effort sandwiched in-between and Gylfi Sigurdsson's late leveller 11 minutes from time Spurs were able to leave SW6 with a point.

The draw ensures the Champions League situation is unresolved, though Chelsea remain in pole position two points ahead of Arsenal with Spurs one further adrift in fifth position, but Benitez conceded afterwards he had been hoping for more with us in front and in control.

'We had the chances on counter-attack to score the third goal and finish the game,' he said. 'We scored the first one and then we gave them the opportunity to counter, got the second and after it was the same, three or four opportunities to kill the game, we didn't do it and then they were pushing.

'For the second goal, Adebayor was offside but we had to defend a bit better. It was a good game, good for the fans but not for us because we were in control and we didn't win.

'We didn't have the legs, we had some players tired and we had a problem with the full-backs going forward so we had to control them but in the middle also they had too many bodies, people that could hold the ball.

'It was not easy, but when you have this situation you have space behind to play the counter-attacks that we had, so that was the key and if they push and push it is fine but we had to kill the game.

'We had one or two corners where they counter-attacked. It was problem for us [because] they are quite good with this transition because they have some pace too.'

We now travel to Aston Villa on Saturday knowing a win will effectively secure Champions League football next season. Benitez will have some important decisions to make on his selection after seeing his side tire in the last half-hour on Wednesday night.

'We are managing the squad quite well but the tempo was too high so we needed to work hard and we were working hard in the first half but if we can manage with different players we will be fine,' said the Spaniard.

'We have to think about winning the next game and being ready for the final. We have to manage players, manage the squad and find the balance.'

Former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, in the away dugout tonight, felt Stamford Bridge had played host to the Barclays Premier League's best game of 2012/13.

'It was a great game of football, not only from the two teams but also the fans,' he said. 'It made for the game of the season with great attacking football from both sides.'

- A clip of Rafael Benitez talking to Chelsea TV after the game can be viewed above with the full interview available now via the channel's online access.