Benitez: Corinthians wanted it more
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez admitted his side deserved to lose the Club World Cup final to Corinthians, claiming that the Copa Libertadores champions showed a greater desire to lift the trophy.
The Blues were beaten 1-0 at Yokohama Stadium, as Paolo Guerrero's second-half header proved the difference between the two sides.
Corinthians enjoyed the better chances, particularly in the early part of the contest, and Benitez - who has now lost in the final of the tournament twice in three appearances - acknowledged that the Champions League holders had been second best for much of the game.
The former Liverpool boss questioned whether his side were as hungry to win as their South American opponents.
"This is the final of the World Cup for the South American teams. You could see this from the first minute," Benitez said. "Our players have some quality but, physically, some of them aren't so strong.
"You could see they have experience and, every second, they were around the referee and doing well - and wasting [time] round near the end. I don't say that as a negative. They were 'managing' the game quite well.''
Despite being on the back foot for much of the contest, Chelsea did have chances to force extra-time - with Fernando Torres guilty of missing a particularly glorious opening with less than five minutes remaining.
Benitez, almost always complimentary of Torres since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, rued the striker's wastefulness in front of goal.
"[You have to] try to find the positives in the situation," Benitez said. "He was there. He had the chances. He scored the goal that was disallowed [in injury time].
"He has to take these chances in a final because it's not easy to create too many. If you have two or three, you have to score.''
Another controversial moment saw Gary Cahill sent off in the dying stages, in a game where the referee was otherwise reluctant to book players. But Benitez suggested the defender deserved his marching orders, after swinging an elbow in the direction of an opponent.
"He lost his temper,'' Benitez said. "I didn't see it in the game, but I've seen it on the replay and it could be a red card.''