Football News

Benitez laments 'soft' penalty

Created on 08 Mar., 2013 1:08 AM GMT

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has criticised the decision to award Steaua Bucharest a 'soft' first-half penalty on Thursday.

Ryan Bertrand was adjudged to have held back Steaua's Raul Rusescu in the 35th minute, the striker burying the spot-kick which proved the difference in Romania.

Benitez was unhappy with the decision to award the penalty, which sees his side needing a result at home to progress to the Europa League quarter-finals.

"I think it was very soft," Benitez told ESPN.

"To give a penalty in this situation, especially when you have so many referees and officials on the field, it was a soft penalty given the situation."

The Spaniard also criticised the referee's decision to give Bertrand a yellow card for the challenge and was disappointed his team failed to score.

"It was a difficult game, we conceded and it was good for them," Benitez said.

"The pitch was not the best but we're disappointed because we conceded from a soft penalty and we had some good chances but their goalkeeper made one or two good saves.

"It was difficult because the opposition were well organised but our goalkeeper was not making any saves, so we're a little bit disappointed because we couldn't score and now we have to at Stamford Bridge."

Benitez is hopeful Chelsea can still advance from the round-of-16 tie and believes his side will put in an improved display at Stamford Bridge.

"It was always going to be difficult because they are quite organised and they play hard but things should be better in the second leg at Stamford Bridge," he said.

"This was not a good game. We have to win at home and everybody knows that we have to push to be better."