Chelsea must forget Di Canio & concentrate on Sunderland, says Benitez

The Spaniard has told his side to focus on their own game at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and expects to rotate his squad again with a trip to Russia in the Europa League looming
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has told his players they must concentrate on playing Sunderland on Sunday and forget the publicity surrounding new manager Paolo Di Canio.

The Black Cats have rarely been out of the headlines following the appointment of the Italian, who has replaced Martin O'Neill at the Stadium of Light.

Benitez believes the new manager will inspire his charges and has warned his side to focus on their game, having slipped out of the top four, following Arsenal's win at West Brom on Saturday.

"We are playing Sunderland, not the manager," Benitez told The Guardian. "I don't think the manager can make that much difference if they do not have the right players.

"They will be different on Sunday so we will have to concentrate. But we will play in the style and the way we can play and not worry about them. We just need to concentrate on our game."

Chelsea are in the midst of a hectic fixture schedule and Benitez admitted he will look to rotate his squad having played Rubin Kazan on Thursday in the Europa League and with the return leg in Russia next up after the Sunderland clash.

"I don't know how many we can change but we will be changing some of them," the Spaniard said.

"We do have some hard games to play. The good thing now is that we have one game in hand and, if we win, we will be third. It is down to us whether we stay at the top."