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Rafa quiet on Chelsea victory lap

Rafael BENITEZ has declined to reveal if he will take part in his Chelsea squad's lap of appreciation after tomorrow's final match of the season at Stamford Bridge.

Benitez (below), who refused to entertain the possibility of a play-off with Arsenal for third place in the Premier League, has fulfilled his brief by qualifying for the Champions League and winning Wednesday's Europa League final against Benfica.

Yet, due to his prior association with Liverpool and the vitriol directed towards him earlier this year, Benitez was reluctant to say whether he will join his squad in accepting the fans' acclaim.

"I will try to concentrate on the game, enjoy, hopefully, the game and see what happens after," said Benitez, who received messages of congratulations from fans on his website.

If Chelsea and Arsenal finish the season level on points, goal difference and goals scored, a play-off will be necessary to decide third place.

Asked about the vacancy at opponents Everton, he added: "I don't think so. I have a lot of respect for Everton and I think that they're doing really well."


STEPHEN HUNT has become a casualty of Wolves' relegation to League One as the Ireland international has been released by the Molineux outfit.

Wolves are making sweeping changes as they face into life in England's third tier, and Hunt (31) is one of seven players let go by the club, but there was better news for Monaghan lad Aaron McCarey, who has been offered a one-year extension.