Cech says players not affected by Benitez chants
Petr Cech has said that Chelsea’s players were not affected by the frosty reception the club’s new interim manager, Rafael Benitez, received from supporters or by their show of support for Roberto Di Matteo during Sunday’s draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
Benitez, who riled Chelsea’s supporters during his six-year spell as Liverpool’s manager, was booed when he was introduced to the crowd before the match, and later subjected to chants of “F*** off Benitez, you’re not wanted here”, while there were also banners declaring “Rafa out”.
Chelsea fans are furious that Di Matteo, who led the club to the Champions League and FA Cup in May, was sacked last week and their anger was exacerbated by Benitez’s appointment, yet Cech believes it is up to the players to ensure the Spaniard wins over the supporters.
“I wasn’t listening to the crowd much,” Cech said. “When I go on the pitch I’m in my zone. We know there’s a history but he’s come here to improve the situation at the club, and to help. He can only do that by getting good results. Let’s hope that’s going to be the case.
“It’s up to us. We need to have a good run of results for them to change their minds. I think the manager deserves to have a chance, as every manager has who has joined the club. It’s up to us to make things happen and make the fans happy.”
The chair of the Chelsea Supporters Group has said an apology from Benitez for his comments about Chelsea fans would help the situation. Benitez, while manager of Liverpool, appeared to criticise Chelsea supporters by saying they needed plastic flags to get behind their team.
Benitez is the ninth manager Chelsea have had since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 but Cech feels the players can cope with the uncertainty, while admitting they should accept part of the blame for Di Matteo’s sacking. “When you come to a situation where you change your manager it’s because the situation is bad, and that everybody is to blame,” he said. “Everybody is responsible for the results. As players, we feel the responsibility because we are responsible for the manager leaving. We want to put things right.”