Rafael Benitez finally gets a warm welcome as Chelsea manager... 6,000 miles away

Blues in Japan for the Club World Cup

Yokohama

Rafael Benitez looked a man at ease, 70 floors up in Chelsea's swanky hotel in Yokohama Bay, with its unrestricted views of Mount Fuji. Perhaps he was reflecting on the adoring welcome that has been afforded him and his team since they landed in Japan on Sunday. After all, it is at odds with the reception he has been used to since replacing Roberto Di Matteo as manager.

Maybe, too, there is something about the Japanese attention to detail that pleases him. It is a quality he sees in himself and one which he feels could prove the difference when Chelsea face Mexican champions Monterrey here tomorrow.

Benitez seems to thrive in this kind of competition, having won it with Internazionale in 2010 and also secured a Champions League triumph with Liverpool five years earlier. Away from the daily rigours of the Premier League, he can find the time to apply his tactical nous to greater effect.

"I think because it's a short competition you have to be ready, to prepare every game," he said. "I always take care of the details and in this competition you make one mistake in a game and it will cost you and maybe that means you can't make the final. I like to analyse everything so maybe we have an advantage.

"I pay attention to these things and [it helps] in the Champions League or the Club World Cup… it's not like the league where anything can happen over nine months. Here, one mistake can make the difference so you have to be aware of this.

"It's not just a case of knockout football. Yes I have had success with teams in that kind of competition but at the same time we won the league twice in Spain [with Valencia] and we were runners-up in England [at Liverpool]."

Fernando Torres suggested Chelsea's turn of fortune which brought wins against Nordsjaelland and Sunderland has been partly down to a more direct style of play. Benitez certainly feels that, if they can match the Mexicans tactically, then his side's pace and power could prove crucial.

But how else does he plan to undo tomorrow's opponents, having had so little time to prepare? "You have to watch as much as you can," he said. "You have your staff watching games and analysing them. The club has people there and there are players we know in Mexico who may help."

Benitez suffered a blow with the news midfielder Oriol Romeu is likely to be out for six months after knee surgery, but he will have been lifted by the return to fitness of Frank Lampard, who came on as a substitute at Sunderland on Saturday following injury and has looked sharp in training.

"None of us has [this trophy] on our CV so as a club, and individually, it's a big deal," said Lampard. "The hard work was winning the Champions League, which was a great thing for the club, but now we have more hard work to do. In the Super Cup [against Atletico Madrid], we failed on the day, which was very disappointing, so we need to approach these two games with the right attitude"

However, he did acknowledge that when the team return from Japan they have "a mountain to climb" to get back into the title race. "It's certainly not over, but pre-Christmas we've given ourselves a really tough task, which is what we did last year," said Lampard.

"We fell away and never recovered. We need an instant reaction following the Sunderland game, we need to go on and on, and it's important that when we get back from Japan, and we've faced Leeds [in the Capital One Cup], we then need to re-focus and get as many points as we can."

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits