independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Benitez: Chelsea squad not strong enough

Rafael Benitez believes his Chelsea squad is not strong enough to cope with the demands of this season

Rafael Benitez has revealed he had told Roman Abramovich that Chelsea's squad was not strong enough to cope with the demands of this season.

Interim manager Benitez blamed the Blues' unprecedented series of major trophy failures on a lack of depth and variety in a playing pool that has also been riven by injury and suspension.

Confirming he had spoken to Chelsea's billionaire owner about transfer targets after Sunday's win over Arsenal, Benitez said: "We had a good conversation the other day but I have to concentrate on football and the game and tactics and all these things. That is my job."

Benitez has come under increasing fire for his tactics and team selection after his side blew another golden chance to end their season with silverware in Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Swansea.

The Eden Hazard ball boy saga stole what might have been even more damning headlines about Chelsea's limp performance during this week's second leg at the Liberty Stadium.

Having begun the season competing on seven fronts, the soon-to-be-deposed European champions have now surrendered five pieces of silverware, four of them in semi-finals, finals or one-off matches.

They now have only two trophies to play for - their Barclays Premier League title hopes are all but over - with Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Brentford looking a must-not-lose game.

Benitez spent much of the pre-match press conference dropping hints he did not have enough resources at his disposal and when it was suggested that was what he was effectively saying, he replied: "Yeah, I know. When I talked with them [the board], I gave them my opinion and the club, they listened to me.

"They gave me their opinion, so we share opinions and we have these conversations and that's it."

Benitez denied Chelsea were guilty of poor pre-season planning ahead of a campaign during which they are playing an unprecedented number of matches.

Press Association

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