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Chelsea's Benitez Prefers To Speak About Basel Rather Than Mourinho

posted 1 May 2013, 11:51 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 1 May 2013, 11:52 ]

Chelsea interim manager wants to talk about second leg match with Basel rather than the Special One.

 LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MAY 1, 2013)(REUTERS) -  Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez chose to ignore speculation on Wednesday (May 1) linking former Blues boss Jose Mourinho to a return to the club.

Benitez pulled the news conference back to discussing Chelsea's Europa Leaguesemi-final second leg against Basel on Thursday (May 2).

He had been asked about Mourinho's comments, after Real Madrid bowed out of the Champions League at the hands of Borussia Dortmund, about deciding on his future at the end of the season, and knowing that he was "loved in England."

Benitez said he would prefer to concentrate on the Basel game, which his team lead 2-1 after the first leg, rather the end of his own tenure at Chelsea and the future of another.

"We can talk later on but today is more to talk about Basel and the semi-final and how difficult it will be and how happy we will be if we can be in the final," he told the questioner.

"I want to concentrate on the game tomorrow that I think is quite important."

Although the Europa League was not on Chelsea's radar at the start of the season, Benitez said it would still be a big coup if the European Champions could add it to their trophy cabinet - even if beating Basel would be no easy task.

"As a manager you want to win every trophy if you can so we have an opportunity but my concern is that we will be thinking that we are in the final that is not the case," he said.

"We will play against a very good team a team that has scored goals away from home so everybody has to realise that it will be tough, it will be difficult and hopefully I will be wrong and we can do a great game and score a lot of goals. But I would think that first of all we have to win."

The match against Basel is one of three high profile games Chelsea have in the space of a week.

Besides the European fixture, the team are third in the Premier League and battling to finish in the top four for European competition next season. After Basel they face Manchester United and Tottenham in quick succession.

With Chelsea fighting on so many fronts in this season, having reached the last four of three cup competitions and the final of the Club World Cup, Benitez said his squad were used to the demands of a heavy fixture list.

"I think it has been the same for 34 weeks, 35 weeks," he told reporters.

"We have to just concentrate on this game and obviously we know that United, Tottenham and then after, Aston Villa and Everton, will be massive games and we have to use the squad and manage the squad."

Midfielder Juan Mata also refused to be drawn by questions about the possibility of a return by Mourinho.

Full of praise for the job Benitez has done, the Spaniard concentrated on the match in hand.

"Well I think it is not my business or the players' business right now to be honest," he said.

"Now we have so many important things still to come. We just have to be focused about who we are playing for which is a very important trophy for the club, what it is to be third in the league, to try to play the Champions League."

Chelsea scored a last minute goal in Switzerland on Thursday to give themselves a 2-1 advantage to take back to Stamford Bridge, but Mata warned that despite the two vital away goals and a first leg lead, they could take nothing for granted.

"Obviously I think the goal from David Luiz was very important for us," he said. "Scoring two goals away it is always a very good deal if you are playing away inEurope but we still know that we have to know that we have to fight for be in the final.

"We got a great result in Switzerland but now we have to play again 90 minutes and I am sure that they are not going to give up they are a team who try hard until the end as they did in their stadium so it will be tough for sure."