Benitez: Chelsea will play strongest team against Basel

The interim manager says he will not run the risk of the Swiss side overturning their one-goal deficit from the first leg and danger the Blues' passage to the Europa League final
Rafa Benitez intends to start his strongest team in Chelsea's Europa League clash with Basel on Thursday evening.

The Blues take a one-goal advantage and two away goals into the Stamford Bridge clash following David Luiz's last-gasp winner in the first leg, but first-choice left-back Ashley Cole is suspended after picking up another booking.

But Benitez is not willing to risk Basel overturning the scoreline after knocking out the likes of Tottenham on their way to a first-ever European semi-final, and will call upon his most talented troops to confirm Chelsea's passage to the final.

23/20 Chelsea are 23/20 with Coral to be winning at half-time & full-time v Basel
"Winning a trophy is important to everyone. We are not in the final yet and we are playing against a tough team," Benitez was quoted as saying on the club's official Twitter feed.

"The main thing is to win tomorrow so we'll play the best team, it doesn't matter how many bookings a player has so far.

"Basel will come trying to score, they did it against Spurs and I am sure they will have the same approach. They need to score."

Benitez, though, is wary of complacency during the match, with a number of his youngsters - the likes of Oscar, Victor Moses and Eden Hazard - experiencing their first European semi-final.

"Chelsea has a lot of young players with talent who are settling here. Hazard is one but I think he'll be better in future," he added.

"We have a good team and we are so close to the final we have to be concentrated. I have a lot of confidence in my players.