Benitez: Rotation a necessity

Rafael Benitez hit out at this week's attacks on his rotation policy at Chelsea on Friday, declaring: "You cannot be criticised and praised for the same thing."

Rafael Benitez the Chelsea manager against Fulham

Wednesday night's shock home defeat at QPR saw interim Blues boss Benitez come under heavy fire for resting several of his key players.

But the Spaniard had no regrets about his decision to omit the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Ashley Cole in the 1-0 Barclays Premier League loss, despite it leaving Chelsea 14 points adrift in the title race.

Benitez, who drew praise during his first month in charge for the way he had managed the workload of his squad, said: "You cannot be criticised and praised for the same thing.

"Rotating players because we were playing so many games was really good.

"We had more players, we could use the squad and, after one game, they were saying, 'Oh, you were changing players'.

"We know how the players are, we know the level of our players, and we trust our players.

"We can manage the squad and we have to manage the squad because we have one game every three days."

Benitez, who employed a similar policy while in charge of Liverpool, denied he had taken it too far on Wednesday. And the Spaniard insisted a similar degree of rotation would continue while he remained at Chelsea.

"Yeah, if it's necessary," he said.

"They couldn't keep playing games and games because the risk of injuries and tiredness is there.

"The other day, I think that two or three of the players, they were a little bit more tired than the others and maybe that is the reason why that we didn't play with the tempo that we want to play."

Benitez also denied his decision was motivated by a desire to place winning the FA Cup and Capital One Cup ahead of a Premier League title challenge.

The 52-year-old, who spoke about his eagerness to win trophies upon his interim appointment, said: "We will try to win every game.

"I cannot come here to every press conference and explain the situation of each player in detail."

He was also coy about how "strong" a side he would put out in Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at Southampton.

He said: "My strongest team? Maybe it depends for you on the names.

"For me, it depends on the moment of the players, how they feel every game.

"We will try win every competition until the end of the season."



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