Football - Benitez calls for Blues push

Rafael Benitez has challenged his Chelsea stars to keep winning throughout their congested schedule after returning to third place in the Barclays Premier League with a 2-1 win against Paolo Di Canio's Sunderland.

PA Sport

Chelsea claimed a third win in a third separate competition in seven days at Stamford Bridge to leapfrog Tottenham and Arsenal in the table. They lead fourth-placed Spurs on goal difference with a game in hand.

On Thursday manager Benitez's men will be in Moscow to play Rubin Kazan, seeking to confirm a place in the Europa League semi-finals, before returning to London for Sunday's FA Cup last-four clash with Manchester City at Wembley.

Key Premier League fixtures with Fulham and Liverpool follow, but, at present, the Blues are on course to achieve their three remaining goals this term, with securing Champions League football next term chief among them.

"You cannot stop," said Benitez, who will continue to rotate his squad due to the congested calendar.

"The main thing is to get results and try to be sure that we have the right mentality every game.

"It's important to keep the team winning, keep the team ready and everybody on their toes. They (the players) have to be ready to give us something."

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