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Thursday 02 May 2013

Europa League: Benitez wary of threat from Basel

Chelsea manager says semi-final tie not over despite his side defending 2-1 lead at home

Chelsea defend a 2-1 lead thanks to David Luiz's late free-kick in Basel

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has warned his players of the dangers FC Basel present in stopping them reaching the UEFA Europa League final.

Benitez’s team defend a 2-1 lead against the Swiss Super-League side at Stamford Bridge in the semi-final second leg this evening thanks to David Luiz's late free-kick in Basel last week. But while Benitez is confident his squad can finish the job, the Spaniard insisted the tie was far from over.

"Basel will come trying to score. They did it against Tottenham"
Rafael Benitez

“As a manager you want to win every trophy if you can,” he said. “We have an opportunity but my concern is that we will be thinking we are in the final. It's not the case.

“We play against a very good team that has scored goals away, so everybody has to realise it will be difficult. Hopefully I will be wrong and we can score a lot of goals, but first we have to win and afterwards we can think about the final.

“They will come trying to score. They did it against Tottenham. I am sure they will be offensive and push. We saw that in the second half and I think it will be the same approach. It's the only way for them to qualify.”

Benitez will not be able to call upon Ashley Cole, who is suspended, and insists he will not be influenced by the fact that another four players  David Luiz, Ramires, Ryan Bertrand and John Mikel Obi  are a yellow card away from missing the final through suspension.

“The main thing is to win and qualify for the final,” he added. “We will try to do it with the best team possible for this game. It doesn't matter about the yellow cards.”

UEFA Europa League semi-final, second legs

Chelsea v Basel (Chelsea lead 2-1 on agg.)
Benfica v Fenerbahce (Fenerbahce lead 1-0 on agg.)

The final takes place on 15 May in the Amsterdam ArenA.

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Key Points

  • Chelsea defend a 2-1 lead over FC Basel for second leg of UEFA Europa League semi-finals
  • Rafael Benitez expecting Basel to pose an attacking threat at Stamford Bridge
  • Chelsea will be without suspended Ashley Cole and four other players are a booking away from missing the final, should they win