RAFA BENITEZ has pleaded for a more balanced take on his team's inability to win every game during their unforgiving fixture pile-up.
The Blues are through to the FA Cup semi-final again - having got back to something like their best against Manchester United with their strongest line-up.
It comes just two days after a poor display at Southampton, but the interim Chelsea boss defended himself from accusations of picking weaker sides and inviting inconsistency.
“We played against [Manchester] United, against Steaua [Bucharest] and West Ham and we were the best in the world. We lost against Southampton and we were the worst in the world. Today we have won and again we are the best. So I think that you have to have balance.
“The priority for us is to finish in the top fourm but as a top side, you have to approach every competition trying to win, but when you have two games in less than 48 hours, you have to balance the squad.
"We don't have a long squad and we don't have too many players in some positions and you have to balance and I think that we did it really well.
“The problem is when you have injuries. Gary Cahill is injured now and Ashley Cole today – you have to approach every game carefully and rotate players. Sometimes that can go well and sometimes not as well.
“It's not that we have to play one game in three days as we have done for months, it's that we had to play twice in less than 48 hours. You cannot kill players playing them two games in a row.”
Benitez, who can look forward to leading his team to Wembley against Man City, added: “We were working so hard at Old Trafford [in the 2-2 draw that forced a replay] , that in the end, I think we deserved to win.
“We had one or two chances where we could finish the game today and they had one or two where they could score. It was a great game and a great victory for us.”