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Football: Benitez won't make any promises to Terry

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Chelsea interim manager has told captain John Terry that he is not guaranteed to start against Liverpool despite twice scoring in the 3-0 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Terry headed in a brace of goals following centre-back partner David Luiz's 35-yard screamer as the Blues moved third in the Premier League by leapfrogging Arsenal on Wednesday.

Brazil defender Luiz opened the floodgates when he drilled in from long-range past Mark Scharwzer in the 30th minute before Terry converted in the 42nd and 71st minutes.

But Benitez said that Terry, who sat on the bench as Chelsea were defeated 2-1 in a FA Cup semi-final by Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday, could still be subject to squad rotation at Anfield this Sunday.

"He has to be happy scoring goals," said Benitez.

"It's good for him and the team. I'm really pleased it was a good performance. I prefer these problems (to leave him out).

"The players have to be ready. We have eight or nine games to play and everyone has to be on his toes and ready to perform.

"We have to stay in the top three and we have the Europa League as well. We want to compete in both competitions.

"They know the most important thing is the team is winning. I'm really pleased with his performance but the team has to be winning."

Benitez was impressed with the way his team bounced back from the City defeat despite a gruelling schedule in recent weeks.

"We have been playing two games a week for four or five months, so it's not easy keeping the players focused, concentrated and not tired," he said.

"We have to keep them ready for every game. Every player wants to play every game, but they have to realise they can't do that and be 100 percent in each game."

A victory for Benitez on his return to Liverpool on Sunday could further cement Chelsea's standing in the top four as they look to qualify for the Champions League.

"After I will go home," added the Spaniard.

"My family have been living there for six years, and I'm really pleased to be going there to see old friends.

"I want to win (at Liverpool). Afterwards, if they can win all their games, that will be fantastic. I will be professional. I want to win that game."

The Blues are one point ahead of fourth placed Arsenal and three ahead of fifth placed Tottenham.

And Benitez expects the top four battle to go down to the wire.

"I said a long time ago that the race for the top four would go until the end of the season. It'll be like this," he said.

Fulham remain comfortable on 40 points in 10th place, but their manager Martin Jol admits only clinching a Europa League spot would have been a successful season for him.

"If you want to achieve something you have to get into Europe, and we can't," he said.

"We have to stay out of trouble, and we have a heavy schedule. Hopefully we can register another eight or nine points.

"We've done well in the last three months defending set-pieces. Tonight we didn't.

"We deserved a bit more from the first 30 minutes. But we should have cleared our lines earlier.

"The first 30 minutes our possession game was good. We played the four attacking players and had a good go at them. They're a strong team, you know.

"The players they brought back into the team...Terry, for example, scored two goals.

"They're a fantastic team. But I'm disappointed we didn't capitalise on the first 30 minutes."

str/smg/pi

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130417/football-benitez-wont-make-any-promises-terry