Rafa’s World of hurt

Corinthians 1 Chelsea 0
Rafael Benitez admitted Chelsea were out-fought and out-thought after watching Corinthians destroy their Club World Cup dream yesterday.

Interim Blues manager Benitez insisted his side only had themselves to blame as they crashed to a 1-0 defeat in the final in Yokohama.

Corinthians made a mockery of their underdogs tag as Chelsea became the first Champions League holders to fail to win the Club World Cup for six years. The South Americans swarmed all over their opponents from start to finish and Benitez said: “This is the final of the World Cup for the South American teams. You could see this from the first minute.

“Our players have some quality but, physically, some of them aren’t so strong.”

Some of Corinthians’ players also tried every trick in the book to get the referee on side, forward Emerson repeatedly rolling around the floor under contact.

Benitez added: “You could see they have experience and, every second, they were around the referee and doing well — and wasting [time] round near the end.

“I don’t say that as a negative. They were ‘managing’ the game quite well.”

Emerson was also at the centre of Gary Cahill’s late sending off, which Benitez admitted might have been justified after his defender lashed out.

“He lost his temper,” Benitez said. “I didn’t see it in the game, but I’ve seen it on the replay and it could be a red card.”

Despite being second best for much of the game, Chelsea created enough chances to snatch a draw.

Fernando Torres was the chief culprit, missing an absolute sitter five minutes from time before netting a header from an offside position. It was impossible not to draw negative comparisons with Didier Drogba’s Champions League final heroics.

Benitez said: “Try to find the positives in the situation. He was there. He had the chances. He scored the goal that was disallowed. He has to take these chances in a final because it’s not easy to create too many. If you have two or three, you have to score.”

Benitez added: “[Their] goalkeeper was man of the match, and to me that means a lot.’’

Yesterday’s defeat will do nothing for Benitez’s hopes of being given the Chelsea job full-time or winning over his own club’s supporters, whose opposition to his appointment is bound to continue.

The Spaniard insisted he was not concerned about that, adding: “We are improving, for me, every day and every week. Hopefully it will be the same over the next week and it will be easier to keep winning games.”

Chelsea have now surrendered four trophies this season and they will be battling to stay in a fifth when they travel to Leeds in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

“We carry on trying to be strong, mentally,” Benitez said. “We’ll have some [disappointed] hours after the defeat but, after that, we have to be ready.”

Delighted Corinthians boss Tite said: “I took a photo with this trophy in 2010. I didn’t know if I would ever hold it.

“Now I have it and I am very happy.”

He added: “Corinthians winning this gives us a very important lesson. A team is more important than individual talents.

“Maybe someone else’s girlfriend looks better than yours but you have to stick with the one you have.”

Tite also questioned Benitez’s changes following Chelsea’s semi-final win over Monterrey.

“I was surprised by Benitez,” he said. “They were a light team when the previous side was physical.”

CORINTHIANS: Cassio, Alessandro, Chicao, Paulo Andre, Fabio Santos, Ralf, Paulinho, Emerson (Wallace 90), Danilo, Jorge Henrique, Guerrero (Martinez 86).

CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic (Azpilicueta 83), Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Moses (Oscar 72), Mata, Hazard (Marin 87), Torres.

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey).


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