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May, 7, 2013

Benitez: Spurs game is crucial

Rafa Benitez believes a victory for Chelsea in Wednesday's match at home to Tottenham Hotspur will guarantee a Champions League place next season.

Yet, despite acknowledging the difficulty of the task by praising both Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas and star player Gareth Bale, the Stamford Bridge boss says he has no specific plan for dealing with the forward.

As it stands, Chelsea are three points ahead of Tottenham with three games left but they have a much superior goal difference of +34 compared to +18 which effectively means a home victory would book a place in the Champions League. As such, Benitez feels this is the most important game of the season.

"At this point, it's crucial for us because, if we win, we will be in the top four nearly guaranteed," he said. "You can say before, during the season, you will have more important games but, at this stage, obviously it's the most important."

Benitez, however, denied that there was less pressure on his team to pick up three points.

"I think - both teams - we know it's important to win, so it's not just more pressure for you, a little less for us," he added. "Both have experience, we know what means pressure. Both in this position, playing for something.

"I think he [Villas-Boas] is a good manager, working hard for his new team. They are in a good position. They are doing well. [Bale is having] a great season, scoring a lot of crucial goals for them. So we know that. He's a player now playing different positions, doing well in all of them.

"The way we play, we have a good team with good players. I think that, obviously we have to keep an eye on him but they have to keep an eye on [Juan] Mata, [Eden] Hazard, any of our players."

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