Benitez wants repeat Chelsea performance despite Champions League exit

Rafael Benitez wants Chelsea to show the kind of spirit they displayed against Nordsjaelland in their next outing, despite the Blues becoming the first holders of the Champions League to be eliminated at the group stage, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Chelsea put six goals past Nordsjaelland, conceding once in reply, but Juventus’ victory over Shakhtar Donetsk condemned Chelsea to third place in the group and the Europa League. Benitez’s side were knocked out by virtue of UEFA’s tie-breaking criteria, which placed Shakhtar above Chelsea after the pair finished level on points.

The game saw Fernando Torres score twice, his first goals since finding the back of the net against Shakhtar at Stamford Bridge in November, while a David Luiz penalty and a goal each for Juan Mata, Gary Cahill and Oscar gave the Blues a commanding victory, cancelling out Joshua John’s consolation effort. With the game goalless, Eden Hazard missed a penalty, as did Nicolai Stokholm for Nordsjaelland.

Benitez, while disappointed at Chelsea’s exit from the tournament, called for a repeat performance in coming weeks. The victory was Chelsea’s first under the Spaniard and first in six games, and Benitez said: “I’m sure that, playing at this level, we can do whatever we want. But we have to show that in the next game. More than the win was the way we won: the character, attitude, intensity, chances created.

They had a job to do and they accepted the responsibility. They couldn’t change things that had happened from previous weeks. It was out of our hands. But everything I have seen from the players is positive. They are progressing. They are improving. So I have to be pleased.

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