Benitez: Chelsea will be happy to finish fourth
Chelsea news: Rafa Benitez claims a top four spot is his main goal this season
Rafa Benitez insists everyone at Chelsea would be happy if the club can secure the last remaining Champions League qualification spot this season, despite their lofty title ambitions at the start of the season.
A summer spree which saw the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses arrive at Stamford Bridge prompted some to believe the west London club could challenge both Manchester clubs at the top of the table.
However since then last season’s Champions League winning coach Roberto di Matteo has been sacked and Benitez installed as his replacement until the end of the season, much to the annoyance of the club’s fans.
Chelsea sit in 4th place, two points behind Tottenham and five points clear of Arsenal in 5th, while the defence of their Champions League crown came to a premature end at the group stages last year.
Benitez believes that securing the last Champions League spot will be enough to make Chelsea supporters happy despite the abundance of talent at his disposal.
"We will try to progress in every competition and the next game is the most important game," Benitez said, speaking ahead of tonight's Europa League meeting with Steaua Bucharest.
"Now we are here, to play in the Europa League, we will try to win.
"On Sunday we'll be at Old Trafford [to face Manchester United in the FA Cup] and afterwards we'll concentrate on West Ham, or whatever.
"We know that all the competitions are important and if we can finish in the top four, everybody will be happy."
Chelsea face an FA Cup 6th round clash against Manchester United just three days after the tie against Steaua Bucharest tonight, and Benitez dismissed suggestions he could field a weakened team against their Romanian opponents with one eye on the clash at Old Trafford.
"As a manager you have to think about both [matches], but the priority is this one," the former Liverpool boss said.
"We'll try to put a very competitive team on the pitch and be sure that we can do a good job tomorrow.
"After we will think about United, but the main thing for us is to progress in this competition."