• Premier League

Benitez refuses to admit title dream is over

ESPN staff
January 2, 2013
Chelsea suffered a surprise defeat © PA Photos

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez insisted that the team's Premier League title aspirations are not over, following the surprise 1-0 home defeat to QPR on Wednesday.

Chelsea remain 14 points behind league leaders Manchester United in the table, after Shaun Wright-Phillips' second half strike saw the bottom side in the division clinch a vital three points.

But Benitez refused to admit after the contest that the defeat had extinguished any lingering title hopes the west London club had.

"I didn't like to talk about this before, and I don't like to talk about this now," Benitez told Sky Sports, when asked about Chelsea's title chances.

"I think we have to approach every game, think about this idea of one game at a time ... and see what happens at the end.

"I will not say this [that Chelsea can or cannot still win the title]. Every game will be important for us, that is it."

Benitez could not hide his disappointment at the performance of his side, however, as he rotated the lineup to give a rare start to Marko Marin along with rests to the likes of Eden Hazard and Juan Mata.

"A lot of things went wrong today," the Spaniard noted. "We knew we were playing against the bottom-of-the-table side and we spoke about that. We knew we had to be focused but we did not have the tempo and some players may have been tired."

The former Liverpool manager also claimed not to know the status of Demba Ba's impending move from Newcastle United.

The Senegalese forward was in the stands at Stamford Bridge to watch the Blues, after they triggered his £7 million release clause earlier in the day.

"I don't know [about Ba], because I was concentrating on this game," Benitez said. "The club is working and we know that.

"If we can do the business, I hope so."

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