Friday, 15th February, 2013

Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez has stressed the importance of the Europa League after his side took a first leg lead against Sparta Prague in their Round of 32 match last night.

A late goal from Brazilian midfielder Oscar was enough to hand the Blues the advantage in the tie ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge.

It was a dogged performance from Chelsea, who created little of note in the game, but will be glad to have scored and kept a clean sheet.

And the Europa League is a competition Benitez sees as important, a fact he has reminded his players of.

"This is the competition we have to play in now, the players have to realise it’s another opportunity to win a trophy", the Spaniard told his club’s official site.


"If we progress, they will see that, and hopefully we can keep the team playing well and winning games until the end."

The former Liverpool manager also warned his team that the job against Sparta Prague is not done, with a tough return match at Stamford Bridge still to navigate.

"We have confidence but we have a lot of respect for Sparta", he said.

"At least we’ve scored the away goal and we need to finish the job at home. We know it won’t be easy but we have an advantage."

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