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Benitez plots path to glory for Chelsea
Interim manager Rafael Benitez has revealed how he will use Club World Cup glory in Japan to inspire Chelsea to an astonishing fightback in the Barclays Premier League.
The European champions could find themselves 13 points adrift of Manchester United in the league and seven behind Manchester City by the time they face Corinthians for the world title in Yokohama on Sunday.
But, should they emerge victorious, Benitez plans to repeat a speech that proved the catalyst for his Valencia side's Primera Liga triumph in 2003-04. He said: "People have asked me questions about whether it's a two-horse race. But, realistically, with three points for a game, if you win two or three games in a row, you have more confidence."
He added: "The team can win games in a row easily. How many? I don't know. But three or four wins in a row, the confidence can be so high. So why not?"
"At Valencia, we were seven or eight points behind in January and were in the hotel, in a corridor, and I was talking with [Roberto] Ayala, [Santiago] Canizares and [Mauricio] Pelligrino, maybe [Pablo] Aimar, and I told them we would win the league. They thought I was crazy.
"But I told them we could win the league and I remember Canizares saying that, after we'd finished eight points ahead of Real Madrid, 'He [Benitez] told us in January'. The way that we trained was key. And the way we train here, I have confidence we will be better and better every single week."
Asked if he would make the same declaration to his Chelsea players, Benitez revealed he would do so before their next Premier League match.
"Yes - It will be about the first game, Aston Villa," he said. "If they can reproduce the same level in that match, I think they will start building this confidence. When I talk to players here, I can see in their faces that they have the belief."
Benitez also had no doubt that he was the man to inspire that belief. The Spaniard went close but never managed to win the Premier League in six attempts at Liverpool.
But he said: "I don't have any doubt about the things I can do. Look at the CV and then analyse the CVs of other managers people think are amazing in England, and you think, 'What is going on here?'"