Benitez assesses squad policy for Southampton, Swansea and Stoke clashes

08:20 05 January 2013

Chelsea Manager Rafael Benitez during a Press Conference at Chelsea FC Training Ground, Stoke D

Chelsea Manager Rafael Benitez during a Press Conference at Chelsea FC Training Ground, Stoke D'Abernon. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

For Chelsea’s interim boss Rafa Benitez, Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Southampton is as important as any other competition.

The 52-year-old has come under fire this week after losing to QPR 1-0 in a match where he dropped Eden Hazard and Juan Mata to the bench.

And with the title almost out of reach for the Stamford Bridge-based outfit some might feel the former Liverpool boss might prioritise other competitions but Benitez is determined to focus all fronts.

“We try to win every game we will approach every game as the most important,” he said. “It was not easy before (losing to QPR), so we cannot say it was easy now. “

“Now we have the FA Cup, then we have the Capital One Cup and then the league. I am not going to say I don’t care about this or that. That is not the way to do things.”

Chelsea remain competitive in three cups including the Europa League after they finished a disappointing third in Group E to move into Europe’s second tier competition.

On January 9, Chelsea will play Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg – a competition that could bring Benitez’s first chance of a trophy since assuming the Blues’ helm.

The former Liverpool manager insists he will still rotate his players and his pleased that Fernando Torres – Chelsea’s sole striker for much of the season – will have support after Demba Ba signed for the club on Friday.

“Chelsea is a top side and they can play against any other team,” he added. “We have to manage the players like Torres.”

However, Benitez was prepared to admit that there was one overriding importance when it came to the club’s performance.

“Top four is really important for the club, of course, we try to win the FA Cup but at the same time the priority it is to win the best trophies next year too (by qualifying for the Champions League),” concluded Benitez.

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