Rafael Benitez bemoaned the lack of depth in the Chelsea squad and has suggested that the West London club needs to spend in order to compete on all fronts, should the Blues strengthen before the January transfer window slams shut?
Roman Abramovich sanctioned the signing of £7 million man Demba Ba from Newcastle earlier in the month but the interim manager Benitez believes Chelsea are lacking in a few key areas and don’t have the strength in numbers required to rotate the playing staff to avoid fatigue.
The Spaniard revealed that he had a conversation with the owner on the issue:
“We cannot rest too many players because our squad is not that big in certain positions.
“I had a good conversation about this with the owner the other day. I gave my opinion, he listened to me, but I have to concentrate on the team.
“I have to play Frank Lampard and Ramires all the time because we have problems with injuries and suspensions and we have two players at the African Nations Cup. We have had nine games a month since I came here and the players are a little tired. You can really see the difference when players are allowed to have a rest.
“If you have a big squad you can keep the level when you play in a cup competition. We will try to strike the right balance.”
We’re having some problems in terms of the squad at the moment as Nigerian duo Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel have been away at the African Cup of Nations, Oriol Romeu is out long term, David Luiz is injured and John Terry is only just coming back from a spell on the sidelines, whilst Eden Hazard will be banned for three games minimum. And the players that we do have available aren’t performing at their peak as we just don’t have any opportunity to rest them and it’s particularly prevalent in the case of Juan Mata, who almost had to carry the team during difficult times this season. We already saw the benefits of some rest could do for the diminutive Spaniard earlier in the season when he earned a break from international duty after a busy summer at the European Championships and the Olympics.
The midfield is the problem area in my opinion though. We’re forced to keep playing Lampard and Ramires there for the moment which isn’t ideal, especially as the former isn’t exactly suited to his role in the pivot despite the occasions he has shone such as Stoke away, so I’d say a central midfielder is a priority. Some would also argue that we may need even more firepower on top of the introduction of Ba, whilst others aren’t convinced by Oscar’s recent performances and are looking to the likes of Willian to potentially provide some more spark.