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Benitez seeks runner-up solace

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez is eager to avoid a tense finish in the race for Champions League qualification from the Premier League.

The Blues are sitting third in the English top flight, four points behind second-placed Manchester City, with Manchester United having all but sewn up the title a further 15 points clear.

But the top four is anything but sorted, with Tottenham just one point behind Benitez’s side in fourth, while fifth-placed Arsenal are a further four points adrift.

Benitez is looking to bypass a battle for the fourth and final Champions League spot and has turned his focus on overhauling City for runner-up honours.

“I think that I would like to see if (we) can reduce the gap or think like this, but I’m sure they will be concerned like we are concerned about Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton,” Benitez told reporters.

“It’s just to know where they are, but the main thing is you are a team. If you can do things in the way that we were doing before.

“The last week we were training very well and we were competing really well and the team was playing very good football, so if you can keep all these things and this momentum, I will not be worried about the other teams. I will be just watching Manchester City.”

Chelsea travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton on Saturday, before playing host to Manchester United in Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final replay.

Thu 28 March, 2013
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