Hectic season run-in no problem for Luiz

David Luiz is delighted at Chelsea's congested fixture schedule - as it reduces the amount of training.

Oscar, David Luiz, Chelsea

The Blues play West Ham tomorrow seeking to consolidate their place in the Barclays Premier League top four ahead of the international break.

The business end of the season then begins in earnest for Rafael Benitez's side, with six games in 16 days, including the FA Cup quarter-final replay with Manchester United, the Europa League last-eight tie with Russia's Rubin Kazan and three Premier League fixtures culminating in a London derby with top-four rivals Tottenham.

Luiz is unfazed by the forthcoming calendar and merely happy to be in competitive action, rather than toiling away on the training pitch.

"Personally for me it is amazing," the Brazil defender said. "I like to play games. I don't like to train, it's boring sometimes.

"I love to play games, so if I had to play every day I would want to. You need to rest sometimes but I prefer to play games than training, for sure."

If Chelsea defeat United at Stamford Bridge on Easter Monday, prevail over Rubin in Europe and go on to reach the finals of both competitions, their season would stretch to 70 fixtures.

Luiz added: "I want to play. I want to be on the pitch. Sometimes I am tired, but when I'm on the bench I'm not tired. I love to play football."

This week the momentum appears to be in Chelsea's favour after coming from two goals down to draw at Old Trafford before beating Steaua Bucharest 3-1 to overcome a first-leg deficit.

Now the focus is on the Hammers, who inflicted the first defeat of Benitez's tenure at Upton Park in December.

"I want to end this week with a great result on Sunday," Luiz said.

"It's a difficult game but we play at home and we need to win."

Benitez is again likely to rotate his squad, with former Hammers striker Demba Ba in line to return in place of Fernando Torres, who scored his second goal in 20 games, missed a penalty and suffered a bloody nose against Steaua Bucharest.

The match will be Chelsea's 53rd of the season and fifth of a month in which West Ham have previously played just once.

West Ham have played 20 fewer games than Chelsea already this season, but after a run of one win in 11 have now won two of their last four games.

"Coming back to the Premier League will be a tough game, maybe physical," Benitez said. "I think we have confidence now. We have to try to play our football and hopefully everything will be okay.

"Since I came here we've been playing around nine games each month. We knew that could be difficult.

"We know that it could still be difficult, (but) we have confidence in the players that we have. Hopefully we can manage well."

Chelsea began the season in contention for seven trophies - the Europa League has replaced the Champions League as an eighth - but only two remain with Manchester United cantering towards the Premier League title.

Questions have continually been asked how last season's Champions League winners can rouse themselves for the second tier Europa League.

The answer is simple, according to Frank Lampard, who was an unused substitute for the second leg with Steaua and could return against his former club West Ham seeking his 200th Chelsea goal.

"It's a competition in the group stages that people sometimes belittle a little bit, because it comes mid-season and there are a lot of games in the group stages," the midfielder told Chelsea TV.

"But as it gets further - and we joined it at a later stage - it gets a bit more interesting and people start realising it's a huge cup in its own right and you want to win it."

The venue for the Rubin Kazan away match on April 11 is still to be decided, with the prospect of it taking place in Moscow or further east in Kazan.

On the draw, Lampard said: "It's a little bit of an unknown quantity, but they've played Champions League football recently.

"They had some good results. It's a difficult trip, so I think it's pretty tough."



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