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Benayoun: Blues in last chance saloon

Yossi Benayoun has admitted Chelsea's season will be over if they crash out of the Champions League at Manchester United tomorrow night.

But the Israel midfielder also claimed completing an historic comeback at Old Trafford would inspire the Blues to go all the way to Wembley.

Chelsea must overturn Wednesday night's 1-0 quarter-final first-leg defeat tomorrow to keep alive their last realistic hope of silverware this season.

History is against them, with United never having lost a European tie after winning the first leg away from home.

Moreover, only two teams have ever won a Champions League tie having lost the first leg at home.With Chelsea 11 points behind United in the Premier League, Benayoun acknowledged their entire campaign rests on tomorrow night's match.

"Everyone knows -- the manager, the players -- that we are playing to save our season," he said.

"It's most likely from here we will finish in the top three or four and be in the Champions League next season. That's almost done.

"The only thing left is to try to win a trophy and the only trophy we can win is the Champions League. We have to do our best and give everything. If we win this game, it will change everything.

"I'm sure that, if we beat United, we will go to the end and win the trophy. It is our final on Tuesday. We have the belief we can do it despite losing 1-0 at home. We can win.

"We know we have to do everything because, if not, it will be our last game in the Champions League.

"We have to give everything and try our best. Let's hope it will be enough."


Saturday's Premier League win over Wigan saw Benayoun come off the bench to make his first Chelsea appearance for more than six months following a serious Achilles injury.

"When I went on, after a few minutes I found it hard to breathe," the 30-year-old said. "I sprinted up and back and just thought, 'Oh my God!' So I needed a few minutes to recover but that's normal after seven months out.

"I had a big injury and, since the day I got injured, I've concentrated on getting myself built up and back again.

"I might even have got a little bit bigger!

"I know I'm not ready for 90 minutes but I was happy to play 45."

That does not mean the Israel captain would not jump at the chance to start tomorrow.

"I'd be happy if I played five minutes," said Benayoun, who could yet prove the man to get the best out of former Liverpool team-mate Fernando Torres.

"If the manager asked me to start, I would give everything for as long as I lasted."