Benitez bemoans Chelsea fixture congestion ahead of Manchester City clash

The Spaniard is concerned with the number of games the Blues must negotiate, admitting he will be forced into further team changes against the Premier League champions
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has revealed he will be forced to make changes to his team for Sunday's Premier League crunch clash with Manchester City.

The Blues scraped through to the last 16 of the Europa League after a late goal from Eden Hazard was enough to see them emerge victorious in the two-legged tie against Sparta Prague.

And having sent his team out on Thursday night, Benitez is now charged with leading his players to victory in their trip to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday – but admits he will have to do with a changed team.

7/2 Chelsea are 7/2 with Bet365 to win the Europa League
"We will change some of them against City, that is very clear because we have to do it and that is the way if you are a top side,” Benitez told reporters.

"Because the club is successful that is part of the price you have to pay and we are really pleased to be paying this price."

Chelsea are currently 16 points off league leaders Manchester United, yet the distance between themselves and second-placed City is far less, with victory on Sunday enough to reduce the gap to just one point.

And Benitez believes the key to achieving success on both domestic and European fronts is by fully utilising the squad at his disposal.

He continued: "We have played around nine games a month, so we have played more games than anyone in Europe.

"But we knew that before the game [against Sparta] so I rested some players so hopefully the players we use will be fine and we can keep the energy.

"When you play two games a week in two different competitions and you rest a few players and you win they will say 'Fantastic rotation' but if you lose they say 'Why are you resting these players'."