Europa League - Benitez urges Chelsea players to 'seize final chance of big title'

Chelsea interim coach Rafa Benitez has urged his players to seize their 'last opportunity to win a big title' after they sealed their place in the Europa League final.

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Europa League - Benitez urges Chelsea players to 'seize final chance of big title'
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Chelsea interim coach Rafael Benitez (Reuters)

Goals from Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and David Luiz in a nine-minute spell early in the second half gave Chelsea a 3-1 second-leg win over the Swiss champions FC Basel in their semi-final at Stamford Bridge for a 5-2 aggregate success.

Benitez has now implored the reigning European champions, the first holders of the European Cup who failed to advance from the group stage of UEFA's elite club competition, to finish the campaign with the glorious consolation of lifting the Europa League trophy instead.

"We have one more opportunity to win a big title," he told ITV. "We have lost three finals this season.

"I am really pleased for them and everyone here. I think we have had a good atmosphere in the side. The players are working hard.

"To be fair we had two clear chances first half and we failed to take them. They then score and we had to react. Credit to the players in the second half. They were on top of them and we scored three goals. We controlled the game.

"At half-time we agreed about that. We showed the concentration and mentality at the start of the half. We killed off the game. We have to think of that for the future."

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Looking towards the final, Benitez said: "It'll be tough because Benfica are a very, very dangerous team and hard to play against, but at least we are there. With the commitment and the quality, we'll have a chance for sure."

Despite the impressive displays since, former Liverpool boss Benitez was keen not to take the praise.

"Again I would say it's not just about me," he said. "It's about the players, the staff, the fans, the club, everyone. I was helping the team. As a manager you have to do your job. When you play a lot of finals, another one is really good. The main thing is we're in the final and now we have to try and win it."

John Terry did not start the second-leg and Benitez would not be drawn on whether the defender would be in the starting line-up for the final, having been suspended for the Champions League decider in Munich last year.

"I don't know because we have too many games to play before," said Benitez.

"The main thing for me is to enjoy today and be ready for the challenge of Manchester United, and then Tottenham. One game at a time, and concentrate on the job in hand."

Basle boss Murat Yakin was impressed by Chelsea and thinks they can go on and win the final.

"They have the team," he said. "They're really clever, experienced, they know how to win things.

"I hope my team have given them really good preparation to go into that final and, hopefully, win it.

"Chelsea showed how clever they are, and it's the little details that catch you out. We need that bit more experience to make the step up. The little details make the difference."

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