There is familiarity between this season’s Chelsea and Manchester United sides as they prepare to meet for the fifth team, and Rafael Benitez sees an advantage in that given the balance of the most recent contests.
In the league match at Stamford Bridge back in October Chelsea were narrowly defeated, followed closely by a Capital One Cup encounter in which we came out on top. Those games were with Roberto Di Matteo in charge so it is the FA Cup quarter-final tie, eventually decided by Demba Ba’s replay winner after Chelsea had come back from 2-0 down to draw at Old Trafford, that Benitez discussed ahead of our league return to Manchester.
On Friday he highlighted the team’s current confidence as a major asset and he hopes that plays a part today.
‘We did really well and the reaction of the team [in the second half at Old Trafford] was very good, and our game at Stamford Bridge was fantastic so I think the team has confidence that we can beat them,’ said Benitez.
‘Man United deserved to win the league title because they were more consistent than the other teams but I don’t see them as much better than Manchester City or much better than Chelsea. I think they were more consistent and in one game anything can happen.
‘All the games are important but when you play against a top side you know you cannot make mistakes so you have to be more concentrated and I like this,’ he added on the whether he looks forward to the major matches.
‘The main thing is the players and what they can do on the pitch and what team you have, and how you can stop the other team and create problems for them. In England people like to talk about mind games but normally who wins the mind games is the team with the better players.
‘Man United have good players but we have good players too.’