Tim Brown:

Chelsea boss Benitez reiterates top-four aim

Benitez hoping for Premier League stay after Chelsea

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Benitez hoping for Premier League stay after Chelsea
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has reiterated that he has been told by owner Roman Abramovich that he is to prioritize finishing in the top four over any potential silverware the club could win this season.

After lifting both the Champions League and FA Cup last year, the Blues entered this campaign competing in seven different competitions.

However, the west London side has failed to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, while its chances of winning a fourth Premier League title has also diminished. Chelsea has already lost the Community Shield, European Super Cup and World Club Championship final this season.

Benitez has revealed that Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo paid a visit to the club's training ground on Tuesday to inform him that Champions League qualification is a must this season, even if it comes at the expense of success in the FA Cup or Europa League.

"All I can say is what I know. I have had meetings. We were talking about the situation and it's clear for me the priority is the top four and progressing as much as we can in the other competitions," Benitez told reporters.

"In the last 10 days, we had a fantastic game against Arsenal, not such a good game against Swansea, and 50:50 the other day against Brentford. 'We still have the FA Cup and the Europa League, and we can still finish in the top four."

Chelsea is currently 11 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United in third place, and face Brentford in its FA Cup fourth-round replay on February 17.

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