Benitez believes Chelsea squad rotation will pay off at end of season

The Spaniard has dropped both Oscar and Juan Mata in recent games, but insists it is just to get the best of his players later on in the season, while also praising Eden Hazard
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez says that his rotation policy will pay off for the club at the end of the season, after recently resting members of the key trio of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar.

The trio were one of the shining lights behind the club's impressive start to the season under former manager Roberto Di Matteo, but in the last two matches they have been split up, with Mata introduced from the bench after half-time against Fulham, while Oscar was introduced as a second-half substitute against West Ham.

With Chelsea's hopes of Champions League progression hanging in the balance, the interim manager, who was known for rotating his squad during his time at Liverpool, once going 99 games without choosing the same starting XI in consecutive games, has explained those decisions were a lot about resting players to keep them fresh.

"I was trying to analyse things we can do in the same way," Benitez told the club's official website.

"I can see the quality of these three players and when the team is in possession they are very dangerous, so we have to find the balance.

"Why I am changing players sometimes is they were playing too many games and you cannot be fresh if you are playing two games a week with this intensity in December."

"You have to manage the squad and if you have some other good players, you have to use them if you want to stay fine until the end of the season when you have to fight for trophies.

"In a game in which you can be in possession, you can use them all. If it is a game you have to manage because the opposition are physically strong then you may have another approach, but they can play together because they are very good players."

Benitez has long appreciated the potential of Eden Hazard, first coming across the youngster during his time at Anfield in a Europa League clash back in 2010, but also noted a period of acclimatisation is needed for anyone who goes from being a club's star turn to one of many top-level players in a side.

"Hazard can play in three positions and he has great talent," Benitez continued. "I know [Lille manager] Rudi Garcia so I have information and I know he is a great player but he has to adapt also to the tempo of the Premier League, it is not the same way to play [as in France].

"I saw the player's evolution in Lille. I was following him when he was 19 and he was a good player but after that he was even better and he can change a game.

"At Lille he knew he was the key player and the way he was playing was with this feeling - I am the best player and I will do what I want to do and it will be right.

"Here you come to the maximum level in the Premier League and Champions League. You have to be always at your best and sometimes you cannot make the difference.

"It is something that he will see and learn from and he is doing well, but he can still do better because he is a great player."