Football: Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez joked that his critics would blame him for the club’s fixture pile-up if his side progress to the Europa League quarter-finals tomorrow night.
The Spaniard has been at loggerheads with Blues fans since he took over from Roberto di Matteo last November and he could be under further pressure if his players fail to overturn a 1-0 deficit to Steaua Bucharest at Stamford Bridge.
Nonetheless progress for the Blues would result in a fixture headache, with the Londoners due to play Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-final replay three days before a potential last eight Europa League tie.
Responding to questions on fixture congestion, Benitez quipped that some people would suggest it is his fault.
Benitez said: “I can do nothing about that. I just concentrate on my job and try to do my best, preparing the team for every competition.
“Maybe someone else will blame me. Some people always say that it’s my fault, that everything is my fault.”
Asked how he could be blamed for the calendar, Benitez said: “You are clever enough to realise that I was joking.
“If something is wrong they want to blame me. But I have to manage this too.”
Fernando Torres is expected to lead Chelsea’s attack, with Demba Ba ineligible. Skipper John Terry could return.
Elsewhere Tottenham travel to Inter Milan boasting a 3-0 lead from the first leg but nonetheless hoping for a positive result with Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Liverpool still fresh in the memory.
Inter Milan boss Andrea Stramaccioni admitted his side faced an uphill struggle to qualify.
“We want to do well and honour (the competition), but we know our situation and our numbers are limited,” he said.
Inter will be hoping to take advantage of the absence of Gareth Bale, who has scored 10 goals in his last 11 games for club and country but is suspended after being booked for diving in the first leg.
Stramaccioni added: “Football is strange. 3-0 is difficult to overturn, but we’ll be taking to the field to win.”
Newcastle host Anzhi Makhachkala, with the tie finely poised after the first leg in Russia finished 0-0.
Midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa will miss out for Newcastle with a hamstring injury, while striker Shola Ameobi will undergo a late fitness test on an ankle problem.