CHELSEA boss Rafael Benitez is preparing to ease his defensive headache by deploying centre-back David Luiz as an emergency left-back for tonight’s Europa League quarter-final with Rubin Kazan.
The Blues’ first choice players in that position, Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand, missed the flight to Moscow with a hamstring injury and virus respectively.
Luiz has been used by Benitez, whose team lead 3-1 from the first leg, as a central defender or midfielder so far this season.
But Benitez revealed he is still mulling over whether to select the Brazilian, veteran Paulo Ferreira or academy product Nathan Ake in the problem position.
“David Luiz has also played as a left full-back before so maybe he can be an option,” said the Spaniard. “I don’t think it would be a big problem for Ake if he has to play there. He has played for us and trained with us.”
Striker Demba Ba is ineligible to play, having featured for Newcastle in the competition this term, so Fernando Torres, who scored twice in the first leg, is set to lead the attack. And Benitez feels his team should have enough quality to reach the semi-finals.
“We have confidence we can go through,” he added. “We know their team, so I don’t see too many surprises.”