12th of April 2013 Author: Johnny Karp
Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez says his team must improve their defensive play ahead of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley. The Blues produced a rather poor second-half display in Thursday's 3-2 defeat by Europa League opponents Rubin Kazan, they qualified on the day but Manchester City might not be so forgiving if they are given the chances to score. Chelsea conceded three second-half goals in Russia but still reached the semi-finals after a 5-4 aggregate win.
"We have to stop crosses and deal much better with them - things we couldn't do against Rubin," said Benitez. Chelsea were looking on schedule at half-time of the second leg as Fernando Torres's early goal gave them a 4-1 lead on aggregate but they looked very weak after the break as the Russians did lots of damage with a number of crosses from wide areas. The Blues failed to handle most high balls into their penalty area and both Ivan Marcano and Gokdeniz Karadeniz headed in for the home side. Marcano also went close with another header, before Bebras Natcho's penalty gave Rubin victory on the night.
"I was happy with the first half, but we have to improve on our second-half performance," added Benitez. "I'm disappointed because we didn't defend well in the second half. It is not just the defenders who have to improve, because it is the whole team who defends. We have to carefully analyse our defending by watching the match video. We managed the squad and hopefully we'll have some fresh legs for Sunday too."
The Spanish manager said he was happy with Chelsea advancing to the last four, but not of the result in Moscow. "We have reached another semi-final, despite playing on a synthetic pitch and Ryan Bertrand being unable to play because of illness, so I'm pleased to score two goals and win," said Benitez. "We have gone through so I'm pleased with the team and their effort. The players gave everything on the pitch."
Chelsea face Manchester City on Sunday in the FA Cup semi final, the game which will decide one of the two finalists, who will play either Millwall or Wigan for the trophy. Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Chelsea win - 23/10
Draw - 5/2
Man City win - 13/10
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