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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 13 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 5, 2012

Blues boss Benitez looking ahead

Interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez said he was looking ahead to the next challenges after the Blues crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages despite a 6-1 thrashing of FC Nordsjaelland.

"Can we change the result of the other game? No. Can we change the situation? No. So we have to think about what we can change, which is improving, and be ready for the next challenge," he said.

"The game was out of our hands. I said before that we had to do our job and, as a manager, you have to be really pleased with the performance of the team.

"There were 32 attempts, 18 on target, six goals, a lot of clear chances, so you have to think about the positives after this performance.

"You also have to be really disappointed because you cannot progress in the Champions League. You ask me if I will take the Europa League seriously - every competition is important for us so we will try to do our best and win if we can.''

He also praised the contribution of two-goal Fernando Torres, saying: "He was playing well and the team was helping him. If we create chances, he will score goals.''

Chelsea duo Petr Cech and Gary Cahill were left to rue the Blues' results against Juventus.

The Londoners drew 2-2 with Juve at Stamford Bridge after leading 2-0, and slumped to a 3-0 defeat in Italy in what turned out to be Roberto Di Matteo's final game in charge.

"We knew that it could happen,'' 'keeper Cech told Sky Sports 2. "We knew that if Donetsk didn't win [they were beaten 1-0 at home by Juve] then we would be out. Unfortunately, that is the reality. We did what we could. We had a good performance and scored six goals.''

Chelsea's fate had rested in the hands of Shakhtar after a stuttering campaign, and Cech believes the opening day 2-2 home draw with the Italian champions was the most damaging result.

"You have results where we lost away to Donetsk and Juventus, but I think the main difference was the draw against Juve at home,'' said Cech, who saved a penalty when the Nordsjaelland game was still goalless.

"We were 2-0 up and then ended 2-2. If you drop too many points in the group, then you can't go through.''

Cahill echoed the thoughts of his goalkeeper, saying: "The two results against Juve were damaging for us. I've just said that with 10 points sometimes you through but that was not to be in our group. We had to do more than that.''

Asked what Nordsjaelland had taken from their Champions League experience, manager Kasper Hjulmand said: "A lot of beatings. We knew when we entered this tournament that we were in a difficult group, first of all.

"We're a club that has only existed for 10 years. We've done a great job in our own league, we won the championship last year. Just to put it into perspective, we've spent around £1million altogether on the squad, so compare that to what we're up against."

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