Benitez hoping to rediscover Chelsea confidence

The former Liverpool boss feels his players need to find the character which saw them crowned champions of Europe in May, insisting that they must play as a team
Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez is aiming to bring back the confidence with which the Blues won the Champions League in May, after dropping seven points in his opening three Premier League games as manager.

The Spaniard wants to ‘adjust things’ on the pitch in the hope that by making the players more at ease with their roles within the team, they will then be able to apply themselves more freely and exude the sparkling football they played earlier in the campaign under Roberto di Matteo.

Benitez is known for demanding a high work-rate from his teams, but the Blues have struggled to create chances despite their undoubted quality in the final third, with Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar all unable to interchange positions as they were under Di Matteo. But the 52-year-old has insisted that confidence is the key to improving results.

“We will try to adjust things and if the players are more comfortable in terms of what they have to do on the pitch, you can give them some confidence,” he said, speaking to the club’s official website.

“These are players that have won the Champions League and have won a lot of trophies so they have to show this character, but they need a little more confidence.”

The Spaniard also intimated that he feels as though some of the younger members of his squad are struggling to cope with the physical aspects of life in the Premier League.

“We also have young players who are coming new to the Premier League and they have the talent and the quality but they still have to show these things on the pitch,” he continued.

“In the Premier League it is very physical and if you cannot cope with the physicality, maybe you cannot use your quality so we have to give them some confidence, doing some things that are maybe easy for them to manage and use the technical ability they have.”

The two-times Uefa Coach of the Year also recognised that if just one or two players within the eleven are not showing enough character then the team performance as a whole could suffer.

“Some players can show character but if you have one or two and they are not playing at the level then the team as a team is suffering,” he added.

“The second half against West Ham we had this situation so we needed to change some players and you could see we were then a little more comfortable in possession.

“But still we were not controlling the first balls and the second balls that were really important for West Ham's way of playing.”