Ray Wilkins: Rafael Benítez took a liberty with his Chelsea selection

Ray Wilkins has blasted Rafael Benítez's selection policy after the Spaniard chose to rest key players for Chelsea's trip to Southampton

rafael benitez
Rafael Benítez's side lost to Southampton at the weekend Photo: The Sport Review

rafael benitez

Ray Wilkins has blasted Rafael Benítez’s selection policy after the Spaniard chose to rest a number of key players for Chelsea’s Premier League clash at Southampton.

The Chelsea interim boss opted to leave the likes of Eden Hazard, Ashley Cole, Demba Ba and David Luiz on the bench as the Blues suffered a 2-1 defeat at St Mary’s on Saturday.

Benítez claimed he had no choice but to rotate his squad, with Chelsea’s FA Cup clash against Manchester United kicking off less than 48 hours after their trip to Southampton.

But Wilkins insists the Spaniard was wrong to rest players and even says that Benítez is to blame for the hamstring injury Cole picked up on Monday.

“I am sick of the word ‘tired’ in football. We used to play Easter Friday, Saturday and Monday,” Wilkins told talkSPORT.

“These players are super-fit and I don’t think you can take liberties in the Premier League. Southampton have beaten Manchester City, they have beaten Liverpool, and they took Manchester United the distance.

“I think Benítez took a little bit of a liberty at the weekend with the side he selected. These guys can play two games in three days, no problem at all. Champions League football for a club like Chelsea is paramount.

“He [Cole] never played on Saturday at Southampton on Saturday, he plays 15 minutes against United and Danny Welbeck takes him on a run and he pulls his hamstring.

“I honestly feel he has to play all the time, Ashley. He is one of these machines. You have to keep it well oiled and it will fly. Had he played on Saturday, he wouldn’t have done that yesterday.”

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