Rafael Benitez working hard to arrest Chelsea slide

The European champions have slipped well behind United and City in the title race

Rafael Benitez insists Chelsea are working hard to end the poor run of form which has led to questions over whether the Spaniard will complete his spell as interim boss at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have three wins from their last 10 matches and are without a victory in four ahead of tomorrow's Premier League clash with Wigan, with their latest slip coming in a 3-2 defeat against Newcastle last weekend.

It is hard to tell whether owner Roman Abramovich is losing patience with Benitez, who replaced Roberto Di Matteo in November, but never in his 10-year tenure has the Russian had three managers in the same campaign.

The Blues would slip to fourth ahead of kick-off against Wigan if Tottenham beat Newcastle in tomorrow's lunchtime match.

"We know the problems and we are working on the solutions," said Benitez, when asked if he expected to see out his short-term deal until the end of the season.

"The main thing is that you can score two goals, and then you are 2-0 up at half-time, then you have to finish the games.

"Against Newcastle we scored two goals, you cannot make these mistakes (to concede three). You have to make sure we control the game.

"We could have won all the games we didn't win. It's a question of sometimes doing the right things at the right moment, having a little bit of luck, being more clinical, not making mistakes in defence.

"The team is doing well in terms of the performance and we have to improve the results, especially the games we were winning."

Chelsea will be expected to defeat a Wigan side battling relegation, but Benitez will guard against complacency.

"All teams are difficult to beat," he added.

"Wigan have won more points away, so we know there's no room for complacency.

"We have to sure that we do the right things from the first minute to the last minute."

Should Benitez survive the Wigan contest, he will take Chelsea to the Czech Republic for a Europa League clash with Sparta Prague before an FA Cup fourth-round replay with Brentford.

"Every week is important for us, not just this one," he added.

"We have to do our best in every game. This one, against Wigan, will be important too.

"Every game will be important until the end of the season."

Benitez will be without captain John Terry for the Wigan clash.

"John Terry has an inflammation with his knee," Benitez said. "A set-back, but not serious. He will not be available for tomorrow."

David Luiz is fit again and Eden Hazard is available following his three-match ban following his controversial sending-off at Swansea, when clashed with a ball boy.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech (finger) and Demba Ba (broken nose) are expected to be passed fit, the striker having been fitted with a protective face mask.

Ba is ineligible for the trip to Prague, meaning he could play against Wigan, with Fernando Torres, who was not on international duty with Spain this week, saved for Europe.

Ashley Cole won his 100th international cap on Wednesday as England beat Brazil 2-1, with Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard scoring the decisive goal.

Benitez was impressed with Lampard but unable to shed any fresh light on the midfielder's future.

"England did well, Lampard did really well scoring the goal," Benitez said.

"I don't try to avoid the issue. I was very clear in the past and I will be very clear now and in the future: Frank is doing a great job for us, he's scoring goals, he's playing well, he's a good professional, he's very working hard. That's all I can say, because I am the coach.

"The other issues (speculation), the club doesn't discuss these things."

Lampard is five behind the Blues' goalscoring record of 202 held by Bobby Tambling and has showed his value to Chelsea on a number of occasions this season.

"The situation for me as a coach is the same," Benitez added.

"He is playing well, scoring goals, and hopefully he can score goals in every game, he will break the record and I'll be really pleased."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss