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Benitez bullish after Newcastle loss

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez insists his job is not in jeopardy despite his side slipping to a 3-2 loss to Newcastle on Saturday.

Moussa Sissoko capped an incredible home debut for the hosts with a 90th-minute winner, but Benitez felt his side should have been given a penalty when Fabricio Coloccini caught Demba Ba in the face with his boot, breaking the striker’s nose.

When asked about his Stamford Bridge future, Benitez told reporters: “If the players show the character that they showed in the second half, it means something is right.

“If we cannot control these games, it is something we have to improve.

“With some players – David Luiz, (Eden) Hazard, (John) Obi Mikel and Victor Moses coming back that gives us more options and maybe we can have fresh legs on the pitch.

“When we are in form and doing well, we can beat anyone.

“We are doing a good job in terms of what you can see on the pitch so we’re doing well. The team has great team spirit and I’m confident that the team will finish in the top three.

“I felt the reaction of the team in the second half was fantastic, We scored great goals, we had more chances but we made the mistake to allow them to play on the counter-attack.

“We have to improve, but we couldn’t change the situation of Demba Ba.

“It was a penalty and a red card for me. In the middle of the park it’s just carry on, go back, free-kick. In the penalty area it’s carry on, go back, penalty and red card.

“It changed the game. We lost a player to a broken nose. It’s something to consider. In other circumstances, everyone would be talking about this.”

Despite the loss, Chelsea remain in third in the English Premier League, four points clear of Tottenham, who face West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was full of praise for Sissoko, who joined the club from Ligue 1 outfit Toulouse in January.

“The whole team was magnificent but it would be silly to ignore the fact that Sissoko announced his presence in the game, not just with his technical quality but his power. It’s been something that’s been missing from the team,” he said.

“I don’t have to say too much – his performance spoke for itself.”

Sat 2 February, 2013
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