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Monday 18 December 2017

Chelsea ponder parachuting in Benitez for AVB

CHELSEA have approached Rafael Benitez to determine whether he would consider replacing under-fire Andre Villas-Boas on an emergency basis.

Stamford Bridge officials have told the Spaniard that he would be taken on initially on an emergency four-month contract to see out this season.

The former Liverpool boss is being considered as an option should Abramovich's patience snap with Villas-Boas, but defender Branislav Ivanovic has told his team-mates to ignore the speculation over Villas-Boas.

"I can't say who will stay," he said. "For us, we have to be more focused on our jobs. We don't have to care about these things. I think it's a hard position, difficult.

"For us, it's very important to stay together. Our team, our squad is not doing what is expected of us. This is a fact."

Chelsea have now failed to win since captain John Terry was ruled out with a knee injury that looks set to sideline him for a further six weeks.

Ivanovic, who played at right-back in Napoli on Tuesday as David Luiz and Gary Cahill continued their fledgling centre-back partnership, said: "John Terry is one of the most important players for our team.

"He is captain of our club and I would like to see him come back soon. But if he is not able to play, we have to be strong and do everything to not make it feel like he is not here."

He added: "One of the qualities of John Terry is to show character, to show the right things during the difficult moments in the game.

"David and Gary are quite new to the team. They were playing only their third game together so they need time but they can be very good defensively.

"I don't want to protect or defend anybody, but all these things are about the team.

"When we were winning games and doing everything right, all the team were defending and attacking well. If we start thinking defenders are for defending and attackers are for scoring, it won't give us good results."

The Serb admitted that confidence was low in a Chelsea squad beaten 3-1 in Napoli on Tuesday in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie.

"The confidence is not in the best way," he said. "But it is only by working hard and trying to do things well, keep going and be positive. This is the way to get through this critical period."

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