• FA Cup

Benitez: United's firepower the striking difference

ESPN staff
April 1, 2013
Rafael Benitez insists Chelsea do not have enough forwards to rival Manchester United in the league © PA Photos

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Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez has hailed Manchester United's strikers as the reason the Red Devils are on course to claim the club's 20th league title.

Chelsea and United renew hostilities for a place in the FA Cup semi-finals on Monday after their original quarter-final ended in a 2-2 draw.

However, in the Premier League, a gaping chasm divides the clubs with Chelsea trailing the league leaders by 22 points. An envious Benitez has pin-pointed the difference between the reigning European champions and their FA Cup opponents, believing superior striking power has driven United to the top of the Premier League.

But the 52-year-old Spaniard was quick to note the Blues were not without their own source of goal potential.

"The reason United are top of the table is they have a very strong squad," Benitez said. "Just analyse the four strikers they have and we only have two. They have four all at a very good level and we only have two at that level.

"It was a problem when we had just [Fernando] Torres but now we have Demba [Ba] so that is two attacking options. We have offensive players of quality."

Despite United's dominance in the league, Benitez refuses to worry about their challenge for a domestic double, solely focusing on Chelsea's late surge for silverware.

And after a topsy-turvy season where less than impressive results have already seen one manager leave Stamford Bridge, Benitez, who has announced he will not return to the Chelsea hotseat next season, believes the Blues are in a position the end the season on a high note.

"I'm not worried about what they [United] are doing," he said. "I am just concentrating on what we can do and how we can improve and win games. United are top of the table but I thought we were much better than them in the first game.

"We can compete but when you playing two games in three days, for months, it isn't easy so I think we are doing well in the situation we are in.

"Chelsea is a team in transition; it has a new manager and new players for this year. United have had the same manager for years and 80 per cent of the squad are the same."

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