Benitez confident of Chelsea progression
London: Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez is confident that his side can reach the semi-finals of the Europa League after a commanding 3-1 first-leg win over Rubin Kazan.
The Blues coasted to victory thanks to a Fernando Torres double and a clinical strike from Victor Moses, although the Russian side registered an away goal through a Bibras Natcho penalty on the stroke of half-time.
And despite admitting his unhappiness with the decision to award the spot kick, the Spaniard was satisfied with the outcome of the clash and expects his side to score in the second leg.
"Obviously they have to score two goals and can go through if we do not score but we are confident that we can," Benitez told reporters. "I am happy but not 100 per cent because we conceded a goal when were in control of the game.
"I think the penalty was harsh. The incident was too far away to see it clearly but I was frustrated with the referee’s performance, although that is part of the game.
"I was pleased to see the team winning and pleased for Fernando as he was working well in training and we are happy with his contribution to the team and work rate – not just the goal."
Torres`s two goals took the striker`s tally to 18 in all competitions this season and Benitez was pleased with the 29-year-old`s work-rate in what was an assured performance.
"Fernando has scored some goals and I am sure that he will score more," he opined. "I think that Fernando needed to score a goal because every press conference I answer the same questions.
"Today we saw that he can work hard so physically he is okay and hopefully he can continue to score goals until the end of the season.
"The strikers have to score goals and, when they do, the confidence will be there. From the beginning, I had no doubts about Fernando and now his confidence has increased and we can see that with every pass."
With Chelsea having played three games in six days, Benitez confirmed that he will continue to rotate his squad ahead of their Premier League clash against Sunderland on Sunday.
He added: "Our focus is on our next game, hopefully we can win against Sunderland and that will be three wins a week. We know that it will be difficult but still I have confidence that we can manage the squad and carry on until the end.
"Changes depend on each player; it`s not just me thinking I have to do this or that. You have to look at each player and how fresh they are.
"I don`t know how many but we have to change players every game. The priority now is Sunderland and that game will also affect our selection for the second leg."