Fulham v Chelsea: Rafael Benitez not 'wasting time' analysing statistics ahead of west London derby

Chelsea are battling for a place in the top four

Rafael Benitez normally likes statistics, but the Chelsea interim boss has had no time for numbers ahead of tonight's west London derby at Fulham where three Barclays Premier League points is all that matters.

Chelsea are bidding to consolidate their place in the top four and a Champions League qualifying spot by winning their game in-hand over Tottenham.

Benitez said: "I haven't wasted any second thinking about how many (points) we need. It's just the next three points.

"I'm just thinking about the next game. I don't waste time when you have so many games.

"You cannot be doing numbers all the time. It depends on the other teams."

Spurs and Chelsea play at Stamford Bridge on May 8 in what could effectively be a Champions League play-off.

But Benitez, who takes Chelsea to his former club Liverpool in another key game on Sunday, anticipates the race to the top four will continue until the final day of the campaign.

He said: "Hopefully we can be there. I don't know who will be with us.

"The league will go until the end of the season. Hopefully I am wrong and we will be qualified before (then), but I think it will be until the end of the season."

Experience is key at this stage of the season.

Benitez added: "The head makes the difference. At the end of the season it's more important to be strong mentally and approach every game with the belief you can win."

Chelsea have players with the requisite experience.

Frank Lampard and captain John Terry are expected to return at Craven Cottage, having been unused substitutes in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City.

Midfielder Lampard could be in the final months of his Chelsea career, with his contract expiring and the prospects of an extension uncertain, and is three short of overtaking Bobby Tambling as the club's record goalscorer.

"The main thing is the team," said Benitez of Lampard, who last scored against West Ham.

"I would like to see Frank breaking the record, for sure. (But) if I pick him it's because I think that he's a good player.

"I'm sure he can score goals. Hopefully he can score more than two and then he will break the record.

"We will be happy, he will be happy and that means maybe we can win more games. I think he will do it."

Fernando Torres is also anticipated to start tonight and a return to the bench at Anfield as Demba Ba is ineligible for next Thursday's Europa League semi-final first leg with Basle in Switzerland.

PA

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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable