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Benitez praises Chelsea mettle

By Football News



Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez hailed his side's character after they progressed to the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday.

The Blues defeated Steaua Bucharest 3-1 in the second leg at Stamford Bridge, bouncing back from a 1-0 first-leg defeat in Romania last week.

At one point Chelsea's hopes looked doubtful with Steaua claiming an away goal before half-time that left the London club needing to score twice.

But goals after the break from John Terry and Fernando Torres put Benitez's men through 3-2 on aggregate.

And the character displayed by the European champions made an impression on Benitez, who feels his side's confidence is on the rise.

"It was a great victory against a great team so I think everybody here from our side is pleased because it was a great performance against a good team," Benitez said.

"We had confidence before the game and now we have more after the game because when we came back against (Manchester) United you saw character and passion and commitment and quality and today was the same, so all these things worked well together against a good team."

Chelsea midfielder Oscar said his team were doing their best to manage a busy schedule that has encompassed four matches within the past fortnight.

Despite their tiring legs, the Brazilian said his side were eyeing a strong finish to the European and domestic campaign.

"This is not the first time we're in a marathon. There is a lot of matches," Oscar said.

"Today we won, but more complicated games are coming. We have to work, rest after the games because every game is important to us.

"We're also trying (in the Premier League). If we win the next game we overtake Tottenham and will be the third.

"It will be a fight like that until the end of the championship. Let's try to get near the (Manchester) City, too. It will be an intense fight to the end of the league and all are great teams."