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Chelsea not Barca, says Benitez

Roman Abramovich has told Rafa Benitez that he does not expect Chelsea to play like Barcelona.

However, the Russian owner still wants the team to play attacking football as they look to get their title aspirations back on track and seal the former Liverpool man’s first win at the club in a west London derby against Fulham.

“It’s possible to play attacking football, like Barcelona, with these players,” Benitez told reporters.

“But I have spent some time with Roman, and we were not talking about the Barcelona style.

“He wants to see his team play well. We watched the Under-21s – me, him, Michael Emenalo and John Terry – and we were talking about the opposition players.

“Roman says he wants to see the team playing well and winning, but not with the Barcelona style. He knows we don’t have (Lionel) Messi, Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta – players who have been working together for years.”

The Spaniard accompanied Abramovich at the match after dining together, hinting at a closer relationship between manager and owner than the club have had in its recent past.

Benitez added: “Roman is realistic, I’m sure. He’s been fine since we’ve been talking about it. He sees how we work and he knows it’ll take some time to fix everything, but he knows we can do it.

“I think we can play attacking and defensive football together. We have to find the balance.

“We have players with talent in attack. We have to give the ball to them to create, that’s our main issue: How do we link with them and give them the freedom to perform and do well?

“But they have to be organised as a team as well.”

Wed 28 November, 2012
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