Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has launched a stinging attack on his players, claiming the side that lost 3-1 to West Ham on Saturday lacked character.
Speaking about playing Terry and Lampard, both of who are still doubtful, Benitez said: “Normally I wouldn’t play them if it was not necessary, but a lot of players can play with problems. It depends on the risk, but character and leadership are necessary in a team.
“We have young players in their first year in the Premier League. They have talent and quality but you still have to show that on the pitch.”
Chelsea looked like they were set for Benitez’s first 3 three as Chelsea manager on Saturday, leading 1-0 at half-time. But West Ham overpowered the European champions in the second-half, scoring three times, and Benitez feels his young players need role models on the pitch. “Some players might show character but if one or two are not at that level, the whole team suffers. That is what happened in the second half at West Ham,” Benitez added.
“We gave them too many options to play their game and we could not be comfortable in possession. That is when you have to show character and quality – and we did not do that. Character and leadership is always necessary in a team.”
Chelsea need to beat Nordsjaelland in their match and hope Shakhtar Donetsk beat Juventus in their game if the Stamford Bridge side are to avoid being the first holders of the Champions League to be knocked out in the group stage. They currently sit 10 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United.
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