• Premier League

Rafa bemused as Rio escapes Torres punishment

ESPN staff
March 13, 2013
Rafa Benitez is preparing to deal with a congested fixture list © PA Photos

Rafa Benitez has accepted the FA's decision not to punish Rio Ferdinand for his clash with Fernando Torres in the 2-2 FA Cup draw between Manchester United and Chelsea on Sunday - but not without hinting at his reservations.

Ferdinand seemed to barge the forward in an off-the-ball incident that referee Howard Webb did not witness. The Chelsea interim manager, however, has had a long look since.

"I've seen the incident but it's not my job to decide," Benitez said. "When the FA make a decision, that's it. We have to concentrate on our job.

"Whether I agree or not will not change the decision."

Benitez insisted that Chelsea must now build on their impressive second-half display at Old Trafford, where they came from 2-0 down to force a replay.

"I think the team, at the end of the first half, was doing really well," he said. "Second half was the same. It was important for us to show against a top side like United, that we can do it. We have before but doing it at Old Trafford shows it and we can hopefully keep the momentum if we can."

That momentum, however, could cause a potential fixture logjam for Chelsea as the FA has scheduled the replay against United for Monday April 1, two days after they are due to face Southampton in the Premier League.

As such, the club's continued participation in the Europa League will mean a packed schedule, especially given the earlier juggling of fixtures due to their trip to Japan for the Club World Cup, as well as the European Super Cup in Monaco.

Unable to alter the situation, Benitez made a joke about it - but one that could also have been construed as a jibe at perceptions of his management at Chelsea.

"I can do nothing about that," he said. "Just concentrate on my job and try to do my best to prepare the team for every competition. Maybe somebody else will blame me. They will say it's my fault, because everything is my fault.

"You are clever enough to realise I was joking. But if something is wrong some people want to blame me. I have to manage this too."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.