Rafa Benitez calls for fewer fixtures

Rafa Benitez, ChelseaChelsea boss Rafa Benitez has called for a change in the international calender to reduce the number of games in a season.

The Spaniard is preparing his Blues squad for their 59th game of the season on Sunday against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final.

That figure is larger for those players who are full internationals, with England alone having played nine games already this season.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has already called for international friendlies to be abolished, labelling them a “hindrance”.

Meanwhile, England coach Roy Hodgson has spoken of his frustration at trying to assemble a squad during international breaks, with many club bosses seeing it as a chance to rest players rather than allowing them to join up with their countries.

Now Benitez has called for internationals to be reduced, with one solution being the introduction of a two-tier system in qualifying.

That would stop fixtures such as last month’s San Marino v England game, which saw the Three Lions romp home to a comfortable 8-0 victory against a side who have only ever won one game in their history.

“We play too many games in a season,” said the Spaniard. “I wouldn’t say just international games but they [the players] are playing too many games.
“We maybe have to check at the competitions and maybe reduce some of them.

“To see a game where you can win 8-0 at international level is not an amazing experience for anyone, so you have to have a Group A for top sides in Europe.
“You then have a Group B and if they do well they can go to Group A, so you have less games.”

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