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Benitez cool on title talk after win

Date

Liverpool

Everton supporters at the match between Everton and Chelsea.

Everton supporters at the match between Everton and Chelsea. Photo: AFP

INTERIM coach Rafael Benitez says Chelsea has no thoughts about a title challenge despite closing on the Manchester clubs after a fourth-straight victory.

Chelsea's 2-1 win at Everton on Sunday moved it to within four points of second-placed Manchester City with a game in hand. But it remains 11 points adrift of leader Manchester United and, despite the progress being made at Stamford Bridge, Benitez says it is too soon to consider Chelsea as a potential challenger.

''We have a game in hand but we still have to win it,'' the Spaniard said. ''Our idea is to approach the competition thinking about one game at a time. We are not watching the table too much.''

Benitez was an unpopular appointment with fans following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, who guided Chelsea to the Champions League trophy last season.

But the manager feels Chelsea's unsuccessful trip to the Club World Cup in Japan has helped his players to adopt his ideas.

The Blues were beaten in the final by Brazilian outfit Corinthians but former Liverpool manager Benitez thinks the heavy training schedule has been key to improving performances.

That defeat was the only match Chelsea has not won in its past seven games in all competitions.

''There is a process of understanding each other and the players knowing what we want,'' he said. ''The trip to Japan was important because we were together for a long time, training. We could work on new things and you can see it working out.''

Everton pulled in front in the first minute at Goodison Park when Steven Pienaar scored.

But Frank Lampard pulled one back with a header just before half-time, before adding a decisive second with a close-range finish midway through the second half.

Benitez says captain John Terry is a chance of returning from a knee problem at Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday, but was unclear about the severity of the ankle problem that forced goalkeeper Petr Cech off at half-time at Everton.

AFP

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