Rafael Benitez: 'Europa League is no distraction for Chelsea'

Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez smiles during the match against Stoke on January 12, 2013
© PA Photos
Rafael Benitez says that playing in the Europa League will not be a distraction for Chelsea's domestic form.

Rafael Benitez has insisted that Chelsea's participation in the Europa League will not hamper their domestic form.

The Blues face Sparta Prague in the first leg of their last-32 tie this week, and the interim-manager believes that the pattern of playing in European competition on Thursdays and domestic action on Sundays will not derail his side's momentum.

"Thursday-Sunday is fine because in the Champions League it was sometimes Wednesday-Saturday," the Spaniard told ESPN.

"The most important thing is in the players' heads. In England there is a tradition of playing on Saturday. But in Spain I won the Uefa Cup with Valencia playing on Thursday and Sunday, which was just the same.

"We can manage if we have enough bodies. I expect them to be focused and to concentrate, they will realise that it's Europe and they must give 100%."

Chelsea are playing in the Europa League after being knocked out of the group stages of the Champions League.

Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez smiles during the match against Stoke on January 12, 2013
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