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Jan 3, 2013

Benitez defends player selection

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has defended the changes he made ahead of the Blues' 1-0 loss to bottom-placed Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday.

• Blog: Complacency costs Chelsea
• Blog: World crashes off its axis

Ryan Bertrand, Marko Marin, Victor Moses, Oscar and Ross Turnbull were among the additions Benitez made to his squad from Chelsea's 2-1 win at Everton on the weekend.

The Spaniard insists it would have been impossible to maintain the same side through the festive period and claims Chelsea should have been able to do the job without the likes of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard.

"We were doing well and we had confidence we could carry on doing well," Benitez said. "We changed some players but from those only Marko Marin was not playing regularly. In the last games Moses had been playing, Oscar has been playing too.

"You could see that some players were a little bit tired, we were not precise in possession, we were not passing the ball with the accuracy and the high tempo we were expecting, and at the end we made a mistake and we gave them this chance - too many things together that were not working for us.

"QPR were sitting deep and they were waiting, and for them it was just to play counter attack and maybe a set piece - and that was the difference in the end.

"We can't carry on with the same players every game. If you are playing against a team that is bottom of the table at home then you have to trust your players and I trust them.

"I thought they were doing well and I thought that would be fine, but maybe in odd areas we were tired. You could see we didn't have the intensity and the pace on the pass and the movement that we were expecting."

With Daniel Sturridge completing his move to Liverpool, Fernando Torres was forced to make his 20th start of the season.

Benitez believes the likely addition of Demba Ba to Chelsea's squad will allow Torres to take a much-needed break.

"Torres is one of two or three players who have been playing too many games in the last weeks or months," he said. "We were trying to manage the squad every game with two or three players changing and it was going well, but against QPR it was not working.

"I don't have any official information [about Demba Ba]. I know [Newcastle manager] Alan Pardew has been talking and there are a lot of rumours but officially he is not our player. If we can do the business I hope he could be available for the weekend.

"I don't want to talk about names but if you have another striker then if you need to play with two strikers then you can do that, or if you want to rest a striker you can do it. We are a little bit short."

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