Rafa Benitez: Chelsea squad is tired and bare

Rafa Benitez has told Roman Abramovich this week that the Chelsea first-team has been relying on too few players.

Benitez made his point at a board meeting on Thursday when he was asked to offer feedback on his first week in the job.

‘We had too many players playing almost every game,’ said the former Liverpool manager. ‘Eleven or 12 were playing in every game and others hadn’t had too many minutes.

‘You cannot play two or three games in eight days and be fully fit. You lose some pace and energy. We will manage the squad, particularly with Japan and the games over Christmas. We will be stronger as a team if we juggle them.’

Marko Marin became only the 20th squad member to be used in this seasons Premier League campaign when he came off the bench in Wednesday’s game with Fulham.

No other Premier League club has used fewer and some, like Fernando Torres, the one established centre-forward, have been run into the ground.

The new manager feels unable to work on fitness with a congested schedule ahead, which includes flying to Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup after next weekend’s game at Sunderland.

‘There aren’t many players here,’ said Benitez. ‘There were 19, now 20 with Marin. They’d been playing fewer players. I’m not here to criticise, but that’s the reality.

‘You can see the team needs to improve a bit physically and you cannot do that if they play two games in a week. It’s very demanding.

‘They have played so many games, massive games in the Champions League. The players were getting tired. You can’t give them a rest either because there’s no time.

‘We will analyse carefully, talking with the fitness coaches, and may adjust a bit. We’ll start specific programmes with every player.’

Roberto Di Matteo should have rotated more, but how can you drop Oscar, Hazard or Mata? Especially hard to drop one to the bench when your starting to drop points. Chelsea should not have sent players out on loan that could have had an impact for Chelsea, such as Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku. Rafa needs a win soon…

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