Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Benitez: Blues Do Not Need Miracle; Chelsea Boss Plots Escape

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Benitez: Blues Do Not Need Miracle; Chelsea Boss Plots Escape

Article excerpt

Byline: Ben Rumsby

RAFAEL Benitez insists he does not need another "miracle" to rescue Chelsea from Champions League humiliation.

Benitez famously masterminded what was dubbed 'The Miracle of Istanbul' seven and a half years ago when Liverpool produced one of the greatest comebacks in European Cup final history to beat AC Milan.

But he declared yesterday afternoon that Chelsea did not require divine intervention to avoid becoming the first Champions League holders to crash out of the competition before Christmas.

That is despite the Blues going into tonight's final Group E game needing to beat Nordsjaelland while hoping Shakhtar Donetsk produce the same result against Juventus. Anything else and the team which ended their agonising wait for Champions League glory just six months ago will suffer the indignity of continuing their European campaign in the Europa League.

Interim manager Benitez acknowledged Chelsea might need "a bit of luck" tonight but said: "I don't think it's a miracle.

"We have to do our job and wait for the other teams."

Benitez reiterated he had no fears of a Shakhtar stitch-up, despite a draw suiting both the Ukrainian champions and Juve.

The Spaniard arguably should be less concerned about the mentality of the group leaders and more worried about that of his own side, who are on their worst run in the Barclays Premier League for 15 years after failing to win any of their three matches since he took charge.

That has piled on the pressure for the former Liverpool boss, whose appointment sparked a huge supporter revolt, something which may intensify at Stamford Bridge tonight.

Benitez remarkably admitted after Saturday's defeat at West Ham that he was "not 100% sure" his job was secure.

But he was more relaxed yesterday, insisting he felt "no" pressure from owner Roman Abramovich and that he had been assured the Russian was not about to parachute in Avram Grant to assist him. …

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