Football - Benitez focused on beating Boro

Chelsea's interim-manager Rafael Benitez insists nothing will deflect his focus from helping the squad secure a successful end to a turbulent season.

PA Sport

The Blues head to Middlesbrough on Wednesday for their FA Cup fifth-round clash on the back of a 2-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Manchester City, which saw them slip down to fourth place in the table - just two points ahead of Arsenal - after Tottenham's late win at West Ham on Monday night.

Benitez played down reports of a heated exchange in training between him and senior players, led by captain John Terry, as he insisted it was very much "normal talk", stressing his relationship with the group was "fantastic" and that they worked in a "really good atmosphere".

Despite all of the negative headlines, not to mention less than warm welcome from some supporters, since the former Liverpool manager replaced Roberto di Matteo in November, the Spaniard remains focus on the job in hand - even if it may only prove to be on a temporary basis until the summer.

"You are professional and you know, more or less, how things are going here in terms of what happens if you lose or win, but I have to do my job, which is to beat Middlesbrough," Benitez said.

"I will be working hard until the end.

"Me and my staff have been working really hard at 100 per cent to get the right balance and right team on the pitch.

"The players know how hard we are working, that is the main thing.

"They are clever enough and realise they will be here with long contracts, so they have to perform and be ready if they want to stay at the maximum level, for example, in the Champions League."

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