Rafael Benitez wants Europa League consolation prize for Chelsea

Champions League holders fail to progress from group

Stamford Bridge

Rafa Benitez tried to put a gloss on Chelsea’s Champions League group stage elimination when he said that the team was capable of achieving “whatever we want” if they played at the level it took to beat Nordsjaelland 6-1 at Stamford Bridge.

The Danish champions were brushed aside by Chelsea who nevertheless went out the Champions League at the group stage for the first time in their ten seasons in the competition when Juventus beat Shakhtar in Donetsk to take the first place in Group E. Benitez said that Chelsea would take the Europa League seriously, although admitted that most clubs only do so when they find themselves in the latter stages of the competition.

He 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. One game at a time. if you remember the games we've already played, we performed more or less [well] against Manchester City, we could have beaten Fulham, the first half against West Ham [was promising]. Everything I have seen from the players is positive. They are progressing. They are improving. So I have to be pleased.”

He added: “The Europa League is not important if you don't win. But if you are in the semi-final or final, everyone wants to win. It's an important competition at that stage. So, if we get there, we'll do our best to win it.”

Although Chelsea were awarded two penalties in the first half for handball, Fernando Torres, who scored twice, declined to take either of them despite the absence of regular penalty-taker Frank Lampard. The striker has historically not taken penalties since leaving Atletico Madrid but Benitez suggested that he was not in the right frame of mind to do so.

“You have to have some players [to take penalties] and in this case we had two who were fine, [Eden] Hazard and David [Luiz]. Sometimes you don't need a striker taking penalties if you have others who can do it. If you have others who, maybe, are more calm and have more composure. At Liverpool we had [Steven] Gerrard. Here Hazard and Luiz. In the future, maybe [Torres] we'll see. But the players knew before it would be Hazard and, after, David Luiz.”

There are still major doubts about John Terry’s readiness to fly to Japan next week. The Chelsea captain said in his programme notes that the record before last night’s match of no wins in six games was “simply ... not good enough”. He said: “We, as players, have to stand up and take responsibility – stand up and stay together.”

After the win Benitez said that his side could build on the result. “More than the win was the way we win: the character, attitude, intensity, chances we created. I'm really pleased for the club, the players, the fans and for me.

“The owner had confidence and hoped we could continue in the Champions League, but, again, it was out of our hands. He was expecting. We were expecting. I had confidence. But now we have to think about the future and that future is Sunderland and the great performance.”

News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Irradiated turkey and freeze dried mash potato will be on the menu this thanksgiving
video
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?