Having witnessed his side score a healthy number of goals before the first leg against Rubin Kazan but not record the clean sheet also wanted, there were mixed feelings for Rafael Benitez after the game.
The manager described the decision to award the Russians a penalty for a handball by John Terry as ‘harsh’, and it was the manner in which they had been allowed to attack after goals from Fernando Torres and Victor Moses had put Chelsea 2-0 up that was of concern.
Thankfully Rubin did not score again but Torres did to join Juan Mata as the club’s top scorer for the season on 18 goals. We take a 3-1 lead to Moscow next week.
‘I am happy but not 100 per cent because we conceded a goal when we were in control of the game, so it was a shame that we relaxed and allowed them to score,’ said Benitez.
‘I was pleased to see the team winning and I said before that Fernando was training really well and working really hard so I am pleased for him and not just for the goal, for the contribution for the team and the work rate as well.
‘From the beginning I had no doubts about his work rate and his movement and also he was passing and touching the ball much better because of the confidence he had.
‘He needed to score a goal because every press conference it was the same questions, and today we could see the confidence and that he could work hard so physically he is fine. I think that he will play well and score goals until the end of the season.’
On making six changes to the side from Monday’s win over Man United and whether there will continue to be such heavy rotation…
‘It depends on each player and it is not a case of me thinking I must do this or that. You look at the players you have and if they have fresh legs, if they are fine and what are their positions. After that you decide. I don’t know how many but we have to change players.’
Looking forward to the second leg…
‘Rubin Kazan have some good players which we knew and the most important thing is to make sure they can’t play well in Moscow. They have to score two goals without us scoring and we have confidence that we can score.’
Rubin Kazan’s manager Kurban Berdyev did not believe his side performed to their capabilities in the first leg…
‘We didn’t really manage to play today,’ he said. ‘In the beginning Chelsea were playing better with more initiative and they scored. We were getting better in the second half but the third goal ruined everything for us.
‘Chelsea were playing their game the best they can and we were giving them the chance to play counter attack which they are good at, and Torres managed to take everything he can today.
‘We will change tactics for the second leg. We don’t have a choice.’