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Benitez rues fixture pile-up after FA Cup scare

Published on Jan 28, 2013 9:30 AM
Chelsea's interim manager Rafael Benitez reacts during their FA Cup fourth round soccer match against Brentford at Griffin Park in London Jan 27, 2013. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Interim manager Rafael Benitez admits his Chelsea players are beginning to suffer from the demands of a congested fixture list after securing an FA Cup replay at third-tier Brentford.

The Spaniard was relieved his side recovered after twice falling behind to the League One club, eventually clinching a 2-2 draw through Fernando Torres's late equaliser.

Benitez is anxious for Chelsea, the cup holders, to progress as far as possible in the competition as he attempts to make his mark during his seven-month stay at Stamford Bridge.

But he says the last thing his side needs is an extra game in the schedule after a gruelling spell that has included December's trip to Japan for the Club World Cup and the losses of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses this month to Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations campaign.

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