Benitez stands by his Blues

Salisbury Journal: Rafael Benitez, pictured, was disappointed that Demba Ba's effort was ruled offside Rafael Benitez, pictured, was disappointed that Demba Ba's effort was ruled offside

Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez refused to lay into his players despite watching them stumble to an embarrassing loss to Swansea in which he suffered yet more abuse from the Stamford Bridge faithful.

Benitez's hopes of winning his first Chelsea trophy were hanging by a very thin thread on Wednesday after the Blues put in a terrible performance to go down to a 2-0 home defeat in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final.

But Benitez said: "The team are doing well. You can lose a game and then analyse it, but if you play this game 10 times maybe you will win nine of them. I think the team were doing really well, had a lot of chances and could have scored two or three in the first half, but we made two mistakes and paid for them."

Two glaring errors from Branislav Ivanovic allowed Michu and Danny Graham to score, while the Chelsea fans also made their disagreement with Benitez's decisions known throughout, booing the Spaniard and mocking his decision to leave Demba Ba and Frank Lampard on the bench.

Benitez said: "I can see any player making mistakes and it's not an issue. It's about trying to do things afterwards, and Ivanovic tried to do his best. We carried on and tried to do the right things."

Benitez was unhappy that Ba had a goal ruled out in the final stages of the game for offside and also criticised referee Anthony Taylor for booking the Senegal striker for an apparent dive while going for a penalty.

He added: "The goal was a goal, he was level. The penalty and yellow card, it wasn't a yellow card. The penalty depends on the decision of the referee."

Swansea boss Michael Laudrup hailed the result but cheekily insisted that Chelsea are still favourites to progress.

"Aston Villa and Chelsea," the Dane replied with a smile when asked who he thought would make the final on February 24. "But I hope it's Bradford-Swansea. We already achieved some historic results for the club: winning at Anfield, winning at the Emirates. But winning at the European champions from last season is something very special."

Michu now has 16 goals to his name, while his performances have raised inevitable questions about his future, but Laudrup doubts whether anyone can afford him. And he added: "There really aren't that many clubs who can buy him. And Michu likes it here."

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