Rafael Benitez rues Chelsea's defensive frailty
Chelsea manager highlights his team's failings against Southampton as title chances slip away
Rafael Benitez says Chelsea's defensive problems are the reason for their failure to beat struggling Southampton and admits skipper John Terry remains a 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 manager Benitez said the Blues needed to improve quickly if they were to claim three points when London rivals Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge.
"We cannot be happy drawing at home," he said. "We have to defend as a unit, a bit better. 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."
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.
He admitted the hostile atmosphere at Stamford Bridge was affecting his players.
The return of Terry would provide Chelsea with a big lift, particularly after the home supporters had again voiced their frustration.
But the centre-back, who was on the bench against Southampton, is not yet fully recovered from a knee problem.
"He's not match fit to play 90 minutes," Benitez said. "He needs to play some minutes. We'll see how he trains. It will be difficult."