Football - We will continue to the end - Benitez

Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez anticipates the race for a Champions League qualifying spot will continue until May 19, but he hopes last season's European Cup winners will be certain of their place before then.

PA Sport

The Blues came from a goal down to beat Sunderland 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to leave them third, just four points behind second-placed Manchester City.

Those three points mean the London derby with Tottenham - a date for which is still to be confirmed - could effectively be a play-off for Champions League football next term.

"Hopefully not for us, but I think it will be the case," said Benitez, when asked if the battle for a top-four spot will continue until the end of the season.

"Spurs and Arsenal are still there pushing, Everton as well.

"We have to continue to the end. Hopefully we can do well in the cup competitions and be ready for Fulham and Liverpool."

Benitez was pleased with the response of his side after they went behind to a Cesar Azpilicueta own goal just before the break.

"The most important thing was to get the result and we did it," he said.

"The reaction was the most important thing. We showed character, we showed determination in the second half and we scored two goals."

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