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Under pressure less than a fortnight after taking over at Chelsea FC, Rafael Benítez's Stamford Bridge tenure gets no easier when the Blues welcome FC Nordsjælland on Wednesday. The Spaniard, however, remains optimistic despite the holders' precarious position in Group E – and is confident his team and FC Shakhtar Donetsk can each fulfil their side of the bargain. Visiting coach Kasper Hjulmand agrees it is not all doom and gloom in west London yet urges his charges to finish a "huge experience" on a positive note.
• Chelsea need to win and hope Juventus lose at Shakhtar as their head-to-head record is inferior to both clubs above them.
• Nordsjælland are out of Europe.
Rafael Benítez, manager
I think the players are ready mentally, they are used to playing at the maximum level – it's just a question of a little bit of confidence. If we can start well and score a goal then it will be a little bit easier. At the same time, it's the Champions League so it's another challenge for everyone. We have to win, we have to do well. The other team are a dangerous team with not a lot to lose – but I think we are prepared for them.
Do we need a miracle to go through? I don't think it's a miracle. We have to do our job and wait for the other teams. Shakhtar are a very good team and I think they can beat Juventus. So no, it's not a miracle – sometimes we need a bit of luck.
The only thing I can try is to win our game – I have confidence that Shakhtar can beat Juventus. They have players that want to be seen around the world. They know they have to perform.
Sometimes when you are not winning you lose a little bit of confidence. The message is always the same. It's very simple: I will try my best for the club, for everyone – and try to win games and change perceptions. The team has to perform, the team has to win, the team has to score goals. I said to the players to be careful. [Nordsjælland] is a team that has nothing to lose – they are a good team and we have to respect them.
Saturday: West Ham United FC 3-1 Chelsea (Cole 63, Diamé 86, Maiga 90+1; Mata 13)
Čech; Azpilicueta, Ivanović, Cahill, Cole; Ramires, Mikel; Moses (Marin 79), Hazard (Oscar 73), Mata; Torres.
• Chelsea are now seven games without a Premier League victory – their worst run since a ten-match sequence at the start of 1995.
Benítez confirmed that Frank Lampard (calf), John Terry (knee) and Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) are all ruled out.
Kasper Hjulmand, coach
When we saw the group it was a tough draw, and we've had some tough games, but the experience is extremely important for a club like ours. It's always difficult the first time you go into Europe.
We have to remember this is the first time ever, not even in the Champions League, but in the group stage. The experience is huge for us and we can build on that in the future.
We'll do our best to perform. Who knows, I think we're able to compete, so we'll do our best to get a result. They have a very good manager and a talented team. They've had a little dip right now but they'll come back and show who they are in the near future – hopefully not tomorrow, but it's only a matter of time.
You can see that some changes are taking place and of course a couple of weeks is too soon to see that through. But yes, there are some small changes in the tactical work. We have noticed it and it's important to see if we can use that to our advantage. But I've been impressed – if you give it time I think they'll be in control in the near future.
Sunday: Nordsjælland 3-0 Brøndby IF (Christiansen 4, Beckmann 54, Tičinović 90)
Hansen; Parkhurst, Stokholm, Runje; Gundelach, Adu, Christiansen, Tičinović; Laudrup (Lorentzen 62) Beckmann (Lindberg 77) John (Mtiliga 62).
• Nordsjælland bounced back from two straight defeats to ensure they remain nine points behind Superligaen leaders FC København with one round of games to go before the three-month winter break.
Jores Okore (hamstring) and Morten Nordstrand (concussion) are definitely sidelined, but Søren Christensen has returned to training following a hamstring problem and could feature.
• Chelsea have never failed to qualify for the last 16 in any of their ten UEFA Champions League campaigns.
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