A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
Rafa Benitez has said that Chelsea need to maintain their momentum if they are to claim a Champions League place, and expects the race for the top four will not be settled until the last day of the season:
"Tottenham and Arsenal are pushing, and Everton, so we have to carry on until the end. Hopefully we can do well next week in the cup competitions and after against Fulham and Liverpool.”
Chelsea moved back into third on Sunday after beating Sunderland 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, with the half-time introduction of Fernando Torres proving the catalyst for the victory. Eden Hazard has described the Spanish striker as top-class, and says that Torres has received more criticism than he merited.
Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed that they have received a bid for Andre Schurrle, with Chelsea rumoured to be close to agreeing a deal for the 22 year old German. Leverkusen general manager Rudi Voller said that the bid, which is believed to be around €15million and Kevin De Bruyne on loan, was being considered.
Chelsea might also look to Germany for a new manager this summer, with rumours that the Blues are considering Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes as a successor for Rafa Benitez. Bayern have already announced that Pep Guardiola will take over in the summer, and Heynckes is reportedly reconsidering his retirement plans after his team sealed the Bundesliga title at the weekend.
John Obi Mikel has said that he is missing being in the Champions League, and he is keen to ensure Chelsea are not playing in the Europa League again next season:
“I have been here several years and never played football on Thursday nights. So, hopefully, next season we are not going to be in it.
“We want to be in the top four, top three whatever — we want to be in the Champions League next season.”
Branislav Ivanovic has said that tiredness will be no excuse if Chelsea fail to finish strongly in all competitions, and say that the Blues are approaching each game like it is a final.
Chelsea will play Manchester City twice as part of their pre-season tour in America this summer. City and Chelsea will first meet at Busch Stadium on the 23rd May, before a second game at Yankee Stadium in New York on the 25th.
On HITC today Lewis Doe argues that Chelsea should not let Michael Essien leave the club this summer.
image: © Jason Bagley