David Luiz confident Chelsea can re-focus to claim top-four finish

The Blues bowed out of the FA Cup against Manchester City

David Luiz is optimistic Chelsea will swiftly overcome the pain of relinquishing their hold on the FA Cup and refocus on securing Champions League qualification.

Seven trophy chances have now passed by for Chelsea this season after the 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City yesterday.

An eighth and final chance remains in the Europa League, where they meet Tottenham's conquerors Basle in the last four.

Chelsea face crucial matches in the Barclays Premier League prior to the trip to Switzerland, beginning with Wednesday's west London derby at Fulham, as they seek to secure a top-four spot and a return to the Champions League they won last May in Munich.

Luiz believes overcoming the disappointment of defeat will not be too challenging and takes confidence from Chelsea's second-half resurgence at Wembley, which was too little and too late to halt City.

"It's not difficult," the Brazil defender said.

"You need to take positive things. For us it was a great game. In the second half we controlled the game, we controlled one big team and created a lot of opportunities.

"In the future we have confidence. I'm always positive.

"We have important games in the future. We need to win. We need to be in the best position in the league and win the Europa League."

Chelsea's defeat came at the end of a run of six matches in 16 days and following Thursday night's Europa League quarter-final second leg with Rubin Kazan in Moscow.

But interim boss Rafael Benitez played down the impact of fatigue, citing the second-half response.

"It's more that City were very strong in the first half," he said.

"We know physically players like Yaya Toure can make a big difference in the middle of the park and also (Sergio) Aguero. They have very good players.

"The first half we didn't show the level that we wanted to show and second half the reaction of the team was quite positive.

"For me the positive thing is we saw in the second half we could do much better."

Chelsea face a deficit in their bid to finish third behind Manchester United and Manchester City, with third-placed Arsenal having the opportunity to consolidate their position ahead of Spurs and the Blues against Everton tomorrow night.

Benitez, who will be the centre of attention at Liverpool on Sunday, added: "We have a massive game coming now this week. We have two games in the Premier League - the target for us - and then after we will start thinking about the Europa League.

"The main one is Fulham on Wednesday. We know it will be tough, difficult, but still we have confidence we can win."

Left-back Ashley Cole is nearing a return from his hamstring injury, but is unlikely to be fit for Craven Cottage, where Benitez is certain to make further changes.

The Spaniard made seven changes to his starting XI between the matches with Rubin Kazan and City, with captain John Terry and Frank Lampard experiencing the unfamiliar roles of being unused substitutes at the national stadium.

Both have been key figures in Chelsea's success over the last 10 years, but Benitez is ushering in a new era before he departs when his contract ends at the end of the campaign.

Lampard, who is two short of Bobby Tambling's club goalscoring record of 202, and Terry are near-certain to be involved at Fulham and will have key roles to play in the remainder of a season where plenty is still at stake for Chelsea.

Luiz appears central to the next generation and has developed more consistency under Benitez, who believes the squad needs strengthening to challenge across the board in future after being beaten in numerous big games this term.

"We saw in the second half that we can play against anyone, if we have the confidence to do it," Benitez told Chelsea TV.

"To be consistent during the season depends sometimes on the squad. If you have the confidence and depth in the squad it's enough for playing in so many competitions."

PA

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn