Rafael Benítez: Chelsea HAVE to finish in the top three this season
Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benítez insists that his side remain on course for a top-three finish this season despite poor run of form
A defiant Rafael Benítez has insisted that Chelsea remain on course for a top-three finish this season, despite watching Tottenham overtake the Blues in the table this week.
Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Manchester City allowed Spurs to leapfrog their London rivals into third place in the Premier League with 11 games left to play.
Chelsea are now just two points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, with the Gunners set to travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday.
But Benítez, whose side have only won two of their last six league games, is adamant that he can guide the west Londoners back into the Champions League.
He said: “We finished sixth last year so we have to finish in the top three [and] that’s it. I am here to be in the top three and do my best in every competition.
“We have quality, and as I have said before, they are training hard so it is not a problem.
“Today, I was talking with some of the players and all of them have confidence that we will finish in the top four or top three.”
The Spaniard also spoke of his frustration at a hectic fixture schedule after the Blues played their 46th game of the season at the weekend – at least five more than any of their closest rivals.
Chelsea face Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday before taking on West Bromwich in the Premier League on Saturday.
“A lot of time we spend together is travelling,” he said. “That is the problem when you have too many games but as a top side it is normal.
“But in this case we do have more than anyone. We have two training sessions [a week] but you do not want to push them with the intensity that you would like to. And then you have to manage tactically or different groups.
“The players who are not normally playing, you push them harder so they have very good training sessions in terms of intensity but if some players are playing too many games they cannot do that.”