Fernando Torres and John Terry are set to return to Chelsea’s starting line-up for the clash with Steaua Bucherest at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, with Demba Ba ineligible for the Blues. Chelsea are looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.
Rafa Benitez might look to rotate his line-up with a congested fixture list on the horizon given that the FA Cup replay with Manchester United has now been scheduled for Easter Monday. Chelsea will likely also have to play on the Saturday before that game.
Rafa Benitez has said that his side have been buoyed by the comeback at Old Trafford, and joked that he expects Chelsea’s heavy fixture burden will be blamed on him, as everything else is:
“Maybe someone else will blame me. Some people always say that it's my fault, that everything is my fault."
Benitez also said that he is resigned to accepting the FA’s decision not to punish Rio Ferdinand for his trip on Fernando Torres, whether or not he agrees with their stance on the incident.
Cesar Azpilicueta has vowed that Chelsea will not go out of the Europa League quietly just to try and reduce their fixture list. The right back also said that the Blues have a squad capable of competing in every tournament they enter. If Chelsea were to win the FA Cup and Europa League, they could end up playing 19 games in 66 days over the next few months.
Oscar has paid tribute to his Chelsea and Brazil team mates David Luiz and Ramires, who he says have made his transition to life in England much easier:
“They helped me so much and off the pitch we are good friends. We get along very well and I am sure this will continue throughout our careers here."
On HITC today Lewis Doe asks whether Chelsea would do themselves more harm than good by bringing Thibaut Courtois back this summer, and Dan Coombs looks at the reports that Roman Abramovich is trying to tempt Jose Mourinho back to Stamford Bridge with extravagant gifts. We also look at why Kevin De Bruyne is unlikely to stay at Werder Bremen next season.
Guus HIddink, who has been mentioned as a contender to take over at Stamford Bridge in the summer, has said he would be interested in returning to the Premier League at some stage.
Hiddink also played down rumours about a potential move for Fernando Torres, with the Blues striker likely to leave in the summer. However Torres would apparently prefer a move to Italy or Spain, and might have even already rebuffed an approach from Anzhi.
image: © Ben Sutherland