Rafa Benitez pre-match Swansea comments


Rafael Benitez has been discussing the evolution of the side as we look to create a platform for an extended run of success at Stamford Bridge.

Since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003, we have enjoyed the most silverware-laden period in our history, with three Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, two League Cups and a Champions League title to our name, and Benitez is eager to continue that run by delivering the Capital One Cup next month.

Standing in our way tonight are Swansea City, who will be looking for a positive semi-final first leg result to take back to Wales in a fortnight.

'You have to have new players - English or foreign, it doesn't matter - and carry on winning games,' Benitez said. 'That's what the fans are expecting. Everyone knows the legends have been here and what they have achieved, but you have to see new players coming. It's part of life.

'That is the good thing about English football - you have good memories and you respect people who achieve something for a club. That's very positive. But, at the same time, you have to think about the future. You cannot be waiting. You have to move forward, bring in new players and try and at the same time bring the best out of those you have. You have to use their experience, too.'

Assessing the current crop, the Spaniard hopes that there are a number of younger talents who will one day be talked about in the same way we already think of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech.

'Every year you have to bring in someone else. The English question is something you have to consider, but this year you have three or four players, you have Hazard, Oscar, Piazon and Marin who came last summer, and they will need some time.

'But maybe in the next couple of years we will be talking about these players as fantastic players and then we will be talking about other players who need to come. That is part of the evolution of the team.

'I can see the club is changing things for the future, thinking about being successful again. It's not just: "Oh, we won - and that's it". You have to keep winning as much as you can, you can't think that's it, we've won now. You have to keep evolving. That means you have to keep bringing in good new players.

'I know the club is working really hard to bring the best players, and obviously English players are an important part of any team in England. It's a situation we have to manage and the club is working hard to do that. But I have to use the best players I have, players under contract, and these players are doing well. I'll try and use them.

'My job from this transitional period is to bring the best from these players, keep winning if we can, challenging for every trophy, and give experience to the new players.'

One player not at the manager's disposal is Petr Cech, who remains out injured, though Benitez is content with understudy Ross Turnbull's performances so far.

'He's very close. We don't know how long,' he said of the number 1. 'Ross is doing well. Obviously, when you've not played for a long time it's not easy. He was fine against Everton and he's getting confidence. Hopefully it will become easier for him.'

Turnbull will be paying full attention to Michu, Swansea's top scorer, who was plucked from relative obscurity to take the English top flight by storm this season. A goalscoring midfielder, the 26-year-old has frequently been fielded as a forward by new manager Michael Laudrup.

'He's a good player,' Benitez warned. 'Spanish football is more tactical than the Premier League, so some players have more problems in Spain because defenders work in a different way.

'He has good movement and gets in the right positions at the right time, so it's good for him over here. It might be more difficult over there in Spain if he went back. They are tighter, more compact over there. It's more physical over here so defenders lose their focus.'

It is clear Benitez will be telling his men to watch out for the former Rayo Vallecano man.