Benitez can't guarantee Terry a start
Published 18/04/2013 | 06:16
Chelsea captain John Terry may have netted twice in the west London derby win at Fulham, but Rafael Benitez has warned that might not be enough for a starting berth at Liverpool this weekend.
Terry's headers complemented David Luiz's exquisite long-range opener in a 3-0 win, which moves Chelsea back up to third in the Barclays Premier League. Next up is a trip to interim manager Benitez's former club Liverpool - a match in which Terry could find himself back on the bench as the Spaniard juggles domestic and European exertions.
"He has to be happy, scoring goals," Benitez said. "Everyone is. It's good for him and the team. I'm really pleased because it was a good performance. I prefer these problems [of whether to leave him out]. I told the players before it is important that they have to be ready."
The Spaniard added: "We have eight or nine games to play and everyone has to be on his toes and ready to play and perform. We will try to stay in the top three and we have the Europa League as well. We want to compete in both competitions."
Asked if it was hard for Terry being captain but only playing every so often, Benitez added: "I think the most important thing is the team. They know the most important thing is the team is winning. I'm really pleased with his performance but at the end of the day the team has to be winning.
"We have been playing two games a week for four or five months, so it's not easy keeping the players focused, concentrated and not tired. We have to keep them ready for every game. Every player wants to play every game, but they have to realise they can't do that and be 100 per cent in each game."
For Fulham it was a case of what could have been after a bright start fizzled out following Luiz's wonder strike.
"The first 30 minutes I thought our possession game was good," Cottagers boss Martin Jol said. "We played the four attacking players and had a good go at them. They're a strong team. If you see the players they brought back into the team - Terry, for example, scored two goals. It is a fantastic team, but it is still disappointing we could not capitalise on the first 30 minutes."
Fulham did try to claw their way back into the match after going two goals down, with Bryan Ruiz seeing a penalty appeal waved away late in the first half. The Whites came closer still after the break when Philippe Senderos saw his header inexplicably blocked at the back post by team-mate Mladen Petric.
"That was offside, I saw the linesman on the other side give it," Jol said of the latter incident. "The frustration was playing well for the first half-hour, creating three or four chances from the first minute when Ruiz could have scored, and then conceding when we didn't close Luiz down. Their two defenders scored three goals. That tells you all."