Rafael Benitez plays down bust-up talk

Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez smiles prior to kick-off against Sparta Prague on February 21, 2013
© PA Photos
Chelsea's interim manager Rafael Benitez attempts to play down claims that he was involved in a row with a number of his players yesterday.

Interim manager Rafael Benitez has dismissed speculation that he had a bust-up with several members of the Chelsea squad at the club's training base in Cobham yesterday afternoon.

Reports had claimed that Benitez had been highly critical of the players in the wake of their 2-0 defeat away at Manchester City on Sunday, which had resulted in a row between the Spaniard and captain John Terry in particular.

However, Benitez has played down those stories by describing the meeting as "normal".

"It was a normal meeting between the players and the technical staff. [It happens] after every game," Benitez told reporters. "You can see all around the world.

"Meetings, talking - you share your opinions and it's normal, especially after a defeat. It was a very brief exchange of ideas, just a team talk after a defeat, and that's it."

On Terry, Benitez conceded that he fully understood the former England international's frustrations.

"I can understand the frustration of Terry because he's an important player for us. He's trying to help, trying to push because we want to win," he added.

"I can understand his frustration because he has been injured for 16 weeks and he has had problems with his knee. He has missed some training sessions. He had a specific plan that we prepared for him.

"We are managing him. We know that he's an important player for us and we know that he wants to win. It's normal to share opinions and that's it."

The loss to City has seen the Blues drop to fourth in the Premier League table.

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez during his side's match with Wigan on February 9, 2013
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