• FT

    Anzhi

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    Newcastle

    0

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    Steaua

    1

    Chelsea

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    Stuttgart

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    Lazio

    2

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    Plzen

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    Fenerbahce

    1

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    Benfica

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    Bordeaux

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    FC Basel

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    Zenit

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    Levante

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    FK Rubin

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    Tottenham

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    Inter

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UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE

Stadionul Steaua, Bucharest, Romania

Referee: Sergei Karasev | Attendance: 45000

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Steaua Bucuresti

  • Raul Rusescu 34' PEN

1 - 0

FT

Watch Live on: ESPN(UK)

Each game as it comes - Benitez

Rafael Benitez insists Chelsea's priority is simply winning their next game.

And that is why his immediate focus falls on Thursday's Europa League clash at Steaua Bucharest, rather than Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United or securing a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League.

Chief executive Ron Gourlay, speaking on a promotional visit to Asia ahead of the forthcoming pre-season tour, reiterated a place in next season's Champions League is the over-riding concern this term.

For Benitez the priority is the next obstacle, but the Spaniard hopes the Blues have numerous hurdles to overcome in the closing weeks of the season as he seeks to fulfil his brief of a top-four finish before his contract as interim boss ends in May.

``We will try to progress in every competition and the next game is the most important game,'' Benitez said.

``Now we are here, to play in the Europa League, we will try to win.

``On Sunday we'll be at Old Trafford and afterwards we'll concentrate on West Ham, or whatever.

``We know that all the competitions are important and if we can finish in the top four, everybody will be happy.''

Thursday's fixture at the National Arena in Romania's capital will be the 50th competitive match of a season which began with Chelsea in contention for seven trophies; the Europa League is the unexpected eighth for the winners of last season's Champions League.

The Blues' elimination from the Champions League prompted Benitez's appointment as successor to Roberto Di Matteo and the Spaniard faces a key eight-day period, with the last-16 matches with Steaua falling either side of Sunday's FA Cup last-eight clash at Manchester United.

With United coasting to the Premier League title, for Chelsea the Europa League and FA Cup represent the only remaining chances of silverware this term.

Benitez hopes the fixture calendar remains a busy one and he is now confident he has the squad to cope.

``We know we have played a lot of games and still we want to play a lot of them until the end of the season,'' he said.

``That is the way of a top side when you play in so many competitions - you have to manage your squad. We have a good group of players and we can choose one or another one.

``If we do it properly, I don't think fatigue will be a problem.''

Steaua are unfazed at the prospect of facing the 2012 Champions League winners after already eliminating Ajax from the Europa League.

Steaua host Chelsea after the Romanians claimed a penalty shootout victory over the Dutch giants.

Goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu, the penalty shootout hero, said on uefa.com: ``Chelsea are a better team [than Ajax] - they are the UEFA Champions League holders so they are obviously the stronger team.

``Sure, it will be much harder than a game against a top Romanian side - we are talking about `Europe's queen' - and I have no doubt I will have much more work to do than against a `normal' European team.

``As we proved in the two games against Ajax, we can be a match for anyone, no matter who they are.

``Before every game - regardless of the competition - I don't feel any pressure on me. All I focus on are positive thoughts, which help me take a serious and professional approach to each match, and be focused for every second.''

Laurentiu Reghecampf's side are eight points clear at the top of the Romanian league and their only loss in their last seven was the first leg with Ajax, at the Amsterdam Arena, where the Europa League final will be held in May.

Tatarusanu believes the sum of Steaua's parts can perform better than the Blues' undoubtedly talented individuals.

``Chelsea have more skilful individuals but we are a very solid group,'' the 27-year-old said.

``Chelsea are the favourites but we all know that football is unpredictable and anything is possible.''

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