Rafael Benitez hits back at Ray Wilkins for comments over Ashley Cole

Benitez slams Wilkins for Cole criticism
© PA Photos
Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez hits back at Ray Wilkins's criticism of the Spaniard over the treatment of Ashley Cole.

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has brushed off criticism from former Blues coach Ray Wilkins regarding the treatment of full-back Ashley Cole.

The Sky Sports pundit accused the ex-Liverpool boss of being partly to blame for Cole's hamstring injury, which he picked up during Chelsea's 1-0 win over Manchester United in their FA Cup quarter-final replay on Monday.

Wilkins believes that if Benitez hadn't rested the England international for the Blues' Premier League defeat to Southampton on Saturday, Cole would not have been at a high risk of injury.

"I thought it was April 1," the Daily Star quotes Benitez as saying. "You can't take comments like that seriously. I have a degree in sports science.

"I have spoken to many people about injuries. This is the first time I ever heard anything like this."

Chelsea will play their third game in six days when they take on Rubin Kazan in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final tonight.

Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez prior to kick-off against Southampton on March 30, 2013
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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