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Saints tame the Blues

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Friday, January 18, 2013

LONDON - Rafael Benitez blamed Chelsea's defensive problems for their failure to beat struggling Southampton and admitted skipper John Terry remains in major doubt for the weekend clash with Arsenal.

Chelsea allowed a two-goal first half lead to slip as visitors Southampton battled back for a 2-2 draw that left the European champions 13 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester United and all but extinguished their domestic title hopes this season.

Interim Chelsea manager Benitez said the Blues must improve quickly if they are to claim three points when London rivals Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge.

"We cannot be happy drawing at home," said Benitez.

"We have to defend as a team, as a unit."

"It's something we have to improve. It's a question of experience.

"I'm not angry. I'm disappointed.

"We know the problems we have when the other team are well organised. We have to sustain attacks, keep the ball, and that's not something we did today (Wednesday)."

Chelsea led through Demba Ba and Eden Hazard but Southampton, for whom the draw moved them three points clear of the relegation zone, recovered through Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon.

Benitez has been on the end of taunts from Chelsea supporters ever since replacing sacked fans' favourite Roberto di Matteo in November.

And he admitted the hostile atmosphere at Stamford Bridge was beginning to affect his players.