Chelsea 3 Basel 1: Benítez praises Blues after second-half reaction
Chelsea 3 Basel 1: Rafael Benítez praises his players for reacting to the visitors's goal and booking their place in the final
Rafael Benítez praised Chelsea’s reaction to Basel’s first-half goal after the Blues completed a comeback to reach their first Europa League final.
The Swiss side travelled to Stamford Bridge needing to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit, and Mohamed Salah put the visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Chelsea were lethargic in the opening period but responded after the interval, with Fernandes Torres scoring his 20th goal of the season to level before Victor Moses gave the Blues a 4-2 aggregate lead.
David Luiz, who scored a stoppage-time winner in Basel last week, then curled in a delightful long-range effort in the 59th minute to wrap up a 5-2 aggregate win and help the Blues reach their second European final in two seasons.
“We had two clear chances in the first half but we didn’t take them,” Benítez told ITV.
“We conceded a late goal at the end of the first half so we had to react. Credit to the players, they were really on top of them in the second half.
“We scored three goals and were really attacking and controlling the game.”
Benítez was thrilled to see his Chelsea squad reach the final, praising his players for the attitude they have shown under the interim manager, despite a turbulent season.
“I came to do a professional job. With the commitment of the players, it was easy. I’m really pleased for them and everyone here,” added Benítez.
“We have had a very good atmosphere inside [the dressing room].
“Sometimes you can win and sometimes not, but they were still doing their job.
“I was really pleased with them before and I’m really pleased with them now.”
Chelsea will take on Benfica in the Europa League final in Amsterdam on 15 May.