Rafael Benitez has called for consistency from his players as we look to book a place in the last four of the FA Cup this afternoon.
We entertain Manchester United at Stamford Bridge off the back of Saturday’s defeat at Southampton, our first domestic defeat in a month, but the manager believes our comeback at Old Trafford to earn today’s replay is evidence the team has what it takes to succeed.
‘Monday is a big game against a very good side but we showed in Old Trafford we could do it, and we will try to,’ the Spaniard said.
‘United are top of the table and we were better than them in the first game. We can compete. When you play two games in three days it is not easy, and we are doing well for the situation we have.
‘United have a very strong squad. Analyse the four strikers they have, we have two. It was a problem when we had just Fernando Torres but with Demba Ba we have two options. We have offensive players with enough quality to create, but in some positions to find the balance is not easy.
‘To play two games a week for four months is not easy to keep the team at the same level the whole time.
‘We have played some nice football, scored a lot of goals, but still, we have to be more consistent.’
Benitez rotated his squad in Saturday’s south coast loss, but is expected to call once more on Eden Hazard and David Luiz in west London, with Juan Mata hopefully fit after sitting out at the weekend.
‘The players that were training with us during the international break, I knew they were fine and ready,’ he explained. ‘The players coming back, you think, “okay fine”, but the team were good enough to beat Southampton if we played with the same intensity of the second half.
‘When everything is going well and you have to make decisions, everybody is happy and more confident for the next game.
‘We play at a level we played two weeks ago we can beat anyone. It’s a question of everybody being focused and not making mistakes.’