Rafael Benitez would like to see the team move the ball more quickly in attack following a second successive stalemate at Stamford Bridge.
The new manager oversaw a goalless draw against Fulham on Wednesday night, and while pleased with his side’s resilience feels there is plenty of improvement still to come at both ends of the field.
Tonight, we had the better of the play against our west London neighbours, and Benitez admitted the visitors deserved credit for their defensive display.
‘I think we had around 17 attempts and a lot blocked,’ Benitez said. ‘You can’t control this if the other team has too many behind the ball. You try, you try, but it’s part of the situation you will see in Stamford Bridge. The main thing is to put them under pressure and hopefully in the future we can play these passes in the final third more precise and we will have more chances.
‘Everybody here is disappointed at the end so we have to give credit to Fulham who worked very hard but these are the games you have to win and cannot lose. We controlled the majority of the game – they had two chances on counter-attack. We have to improve this and we have to score goals, but they worked hard in defence with a lot of bodies behind the ball and it’s not easy.
‘We have a solid team with a good shape, and we will create the chances we have to with the talent we have upfront but if you don’t link with them quickly the defenders have time to reorganise quickly and it’s more difficult.
‘You cannot be satisfied when you cannot win these games. City is a top side with a lot of options, I was fine. Today I could see a lot of positive things, we regained the ball high and sustained our attack, against a team that at Stamford Bridge will wait for you. I didn’t like the chances we gave on counter-attack and sometimes when we moved the ball not too quick but it’s a question of time. We have two training sessions now and play Saturday morning.
‘Two clean sheets is something positive but still I want to score goals and be more offensive.We have some confidence because we don’t concede and if we can build from there I will be happy.’
On the decision to leave Juan Mata on the bench
‘We have too many games now so the idea is to manage the squad and use the players we have. You can’t play the same team every time because if you do we have West Ham in two days, and then Japan. We have to try and manage the squad.
‘When you play five competitions it’s really important to give the message that everyone will be important at the end, we have five competitions and they will have chances.’
Asked whether John Terry, Frank Lampard or Daniel Sturridge will feature at the weekend against West Ham, Benitez admitted it was unlikely, though all are expected to travel to Japan a week later following our games against Sunderland
‘I think it will be too soon. They are closer. Frank is closer and I watched him train the other day and he is doing some things but now he has to start with the team.’
Fulham manager Martin Jol was pleased with his side’s display and admitted he felt the visitors might have stolen all three points after an end-to-end climax to the game.
‘We knew it could be difficult but it could be for them as well if we could frustrate them and maybe do something in the second half and that’s exactly what happened. I’m not disappointed,’ he said.
‘If you keep a clean sheet, even against a top team, it is difficult for them because you can break. We could have nicked it, which would have been bad for them.’