Rafael Benitez bullish ahead of Steaua clash

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CHELSEA interim manager Rafael Benitez issued another veiled attack on his critics on the eve of the Europa League last-16 second leg with Steaua Bucharest.

Last season’s Champions League winners will tonight bid to keep their European adventure alive by overturning a 1-0 deficit in their clash with the Romanian league leaders at Stamford Bridge.

Progress for the Blues, coupled with the FA Cup quarter-final replay with Manchester United on Easter Monday, 1 April, would result in a fixture headache especially given the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final would be three days later.

Responding to questions on fixture congestion, Benitez said: “I can do nothing about that. I just concentrate on my job and try to do my best, preparing the team for every competition. Maybe someone else will blame me. Some people always say that it’s my fault.”

Asked how he could be blamed for the calendar, Benitez said: “You are clever enough to realise that I was joking.”

Tottenham are also in action tonight, looking to defend a 3-0 lead against Inter Milan in the San Siro, while Newcastle hold a 1-0 lead ahead of their home leg against Anzhi Makhachkala.