Football: Interim Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez warned his players to sharpen up or risk defeat in the Club World Cup final, after they eased off in today’s semi win over Monterrey.
The Spaniard guided his jet-lagged side to a 3-1 victory in Yokohama but was unhappy with the late slackness that saw them fail to keep a clean sheet.
And Benitez fears that a repeat could cost the European champions dearly in Sunday’s final against South American counterparts Corinthians.
He said: “I’m not very happy with the goal we conceded.
“We won, which is fine, but still these little things can make a difference in a final, for example.
“When I talk about a winning mentality, always I talk about little details making the difference.”
Benitez added: “The team has to think about winning, winning in style and not conceding because the goalkeeper likes clean sheets.
“They have to keep their concentration right to the end of the 90 minutes. That’s what they need to do.”
As well as winning the Club World Cup with Inter Milan two years ago, Benitez has bitter experience of losing the final after Liverpool lost a match they dominated against Sao Paulo in 2005.
And the Spaniard could only look on as Chelsea wasted several first-half opportunities today, before Juan Mata put them ahead towards the end of the first half.
The Blues came alive after the break to secure the win with a three-minute goal blitz, which saw the revitalised Fernando Torres score in his third straight game before Darvin Chavez knocked in an own goal.
Aldo de Negris’s stoppage-time consolation provided the only major blot on an otherwise decent showing which marks a hat-trick of victories for Benitez.
But despite the win, he still could not escape the ire of Chelsea fans and vowed to take nothing for granted on Sunday.
“You can never be confident when you play a final, because anything can happen,” he said.
“We have a good team and some experience too, but we need to win against any team.
“Corinthians will be tough, difficult, and Brazilian teams are good teams.
“We are ready and can do it, but we need to play the game.”
Monterrey boss Victor Vucetich was philosophical about his side’s defeat.
“Well, we lost and we regret that we lost the way we did,” he said.
“We did our best. However, there were several times when we lost our concentration.
“We knew we had to play the perfect match, but we couldn’t.