Benitez defends selection policy

Falkirk have confirmed midfielder Liam Dick and defender Ryan

McGeever have signed new contracts.

The pair – 17 and 18 respectively – have forced their ways into

Steven Pressley’s first team and signed three-and-a-half year deals

to stay at Falkirk Stadium until 2016.

Pressley told the club’s official website “I am absolutely

delighted to have signed up two of our best prospects on long-term

deals.

“It shows me an enthusiasm from the players to develop their

careers at Falkirk and that they are happy here.

“This is the first stage in a deliberate strategy from us to tie

up our young talent on longer deals and our fans should look out

for more extensions in the coming months.

“It all bodes well for the future.”

The Light Blues are unable to buy new players until next January

and have to wait until September 1 before they can register free

agents.

With no option but to make the most of the squad he already has

at his disposal, Perry believes the remainder of the season is the

ideal opportunity to impress the manager.

The centre-half is fit again after a hernia operation and keen

to make an impact.

Perry said: “The manager has to concentrate on the players he’s

got at the moment and we’re just looking to do the best job we

can.

“If that means playing as many games as possible, and really

cementing your place in the team and the squad, that’s great.

“I’ve got my operation out of the way now and, with games coming

thick and fast, it’s a little bit tiring.

“But, in terms of general fitness, it’s the best I’ve felt.”

Rangers sit 17 points clear at the top of the Third Division,

having won their last 11 games.

Asked if they can go the rest of the season without dropping any

more points, Perry said: “That’s the aim and it was also the aim at

the start of the season.

“We had a bad result at Stirling but that maybe kick-started our

season.

“When you see Rangers in the Third Division, there is always

going to be that expectancy for us to win the league.

“But we saw at the start of the season that no game is easy.

“Even now, teams will make it tough for us.

“We are a young side and a new side and I think we have done

extremely well so far.

“We are just looking to continue that.”

Scottish Premier League teams may now have two weekends off but

Rangers remain in action and will play host to Elgin City on

Saturday.

Perry added: “It will be another tough test.

“We are on a good run just now and hopefully we will be able to

extend it further.

“They’ve had a couple of bad results but we will be

concentrating on ourselves tomorrow and hopefully we can put on

another good performance.”

The Boro under-21 captain will remain at Huish Park for a

month.

The 19-year-old is a central midfielder, who can play at

left-back or on the wing if required.

The Glovers have a good relationship with Boro following loan

deals for Jonathan Grounds and Jonathan Franks last season.

Meanwhile Glovers striker Curtis Haynes-Brown has joined Blue

Square Bet Premier side Cambridge United on a permanent deal.

Wednesday night’s shock home defeat at QPR saw interim Blues

boss Benitez come under heavy fire for resting several of his key

players.

But the Spaniard had no regrets about his decision to omit the

likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Ashley Cole in the 1-0 Premier

League loss, despite it leaving Chelsea 14 points adrift in the

title race.

Benitez, who drew praise during his first month in charge for

the way he had managed the workload of his squad, said: “You cannot

be criticised and praised for the same thing.

“Rotating players because we were playing so many games was

really good.

“We had more players, we could use the squad and, after one

game, they were saying, ‘Oh, you were changing players’.

“We know how the players are, we know the level of our players,

and we trust our players.

“We can manage the squad and we have to manage the squad because

we have one game every three days.”

Benitez, who employed a similar policy while in charge of

Liverpool, denied he had taken it too far on Wednesday. And the

Spaniard insisted a similar degree of rotation would continue while

he remained at Chelsea.

“Yeah, if it’s necessary,” he said.

“They couldn’t keep playing games and games because the risk of

injuries and tiredness is there.

“The other day, I think that two or three of the players, they

were a little bit more tired than the others and maybe that is the

reason why that we didn’t play with the tempo that we want to

play.”

Benitez also denied his decision was motivated by a desire to

place winning the FA Cup and Capital One Cup ahead of a Premier

League title challenge.

The 52-year-old, who spoke about his eagerness to win trophies

upon his interim appointment, said: “We will try to win every

game.

“I cannot come here to every press conference and explain the

situation of each player in detail.”

He was also coy about how “strong” a side he would put out in

tomorrow’s FA Cup third-round tie at Southampton.

He said: “My strongest team? Maybe it depends for you on the

names.

“For me, it depends on the moment of the players, how they feel

every game.

“We will try win every competition until the end of the

season.”