Rafael Benitez: Chelsea can still win title. There's a long, long way to go yet

Chelsea yet to score since Benitez took charge

Rafael Benitez has insisted that his Chelsea team could still win the Premier League title after they slipped seven points behind leaders Manchester United with their second successive goalless home draw under the new interim manager.

Chelsea have now won just two of their last 10 games in all competitions and striker Fernando Torres's wait for a goal in the Premier League now stretches to 648 minutes back to the victory over Norwich City on 6 October. Asked whether his side could still win the league, Benitez said: "Why can't we?"

He added: "It's still a long way to go. We have to keep going. We'll have chances. Remember last season when Manchester City were ahead and it was [perceived as being] easy. Then they needed to win their last game. It's a long, long competition.'

Benitez said that he still regards the club as competing on all five fronts for a trophy, including the Champions League and the Club World Cup in Japan where they travel on 9 December. It was the forthcoming fixture pressure – they will play nine games next month if they reach the final in Yokohama – that convinced him last night to rest Juan Mata, who later came on as a substitute, and John Obi Mikel.

There were also less hostility for Benitez from the home fans. He said: "Maybe from my point of view, but I was just concentrating on the game. The fans realise to support the team and support the manager is the best way to move forward and win games."

Benitez said that it was "not a case of Fernando" being the only one to struggle last night against Fulham. He said: "You saw how they defended with a lot of bodies there. It wasn't easy for him, or [Eden] Hazard or Oscar. We were on top of them, regaining the game higher up the pitch, and might have won it in the last minute.

"You cannot be satisfied when you haven't won these games. Manchester City [last Sunday's opponents] are a top side, a team with a lot of options. [Against Fulham] I saw a lot of positive things, sustaining the attacks and regaining the ball very high. I didn't like the two chances we gave away on the counter-attack, and when we didn't move the ball too quickly, but it's a question of time. We've only had a few training sessions. We need more time."

Returning to the question of Torres, he said: "It's a question of confidence. He's not scoring goals, so it's confidence. But it's not easy when you're playing against lots of defenders."

Benitez said that both Frank Lampard and John Terry would travel with the squad to Japan, in the hope that they will return to fitness around that time. Lampard is now sufficiently recovered to be training with the rest of the squad.

The Fulham manager, Martin Jol, said that his side might have "nicked a win" but was satisfied with the point. "I'm not disappointed to only get a draw away from home, but disappointed we didn't make more of those chances. [Dimitar] Berbatov was almost unplayable and linked our play, and we had a few chances. After the game everyone said Berbatov was fantastic, and he was, but the other players worked ever so hard."

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

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable