Benitez targets trophies at Chelsea
Soccer:Rafael Benitez does not believe the Chelsea fans should be opposed to his appointment, despite the run-ins he had with the club when Liverpool manager. The Spaniard has been named as interim coach at Stamford Bridge until the end of the season following the departure of Roberto Di Matteo.
Benitez had a number of Champions League showdowns with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea when Liverpool manager and some of his comments at the time antagonised the Blues fans.
But he said at his unveiling today: “I want to be honest, if I say this or that, I have to analyse the context. We were playing against Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Champions League. If I am a fan I want to see the manager fighting for my club. I don’t see this as a lack of respect for Chelsea’s fans, just a manager defending his team.”
He added: “I like to do things in the right way for the fans. The fans and manager want to win every single game, nobody wants to win more than than fans and manager. At the end I think that they will be pleased.”
Benitez, who revealed he had not yet met personally with owner Roman Abramovich, also claimed he was not concerned about only being offered a seven-month contract.
He said: “For me the most important thing is I am here because I want to be here. It’s a massive club, a club which allows me to fight for trophies. I was looking for the right opportunity, I was looking for a top side who can fight for trophies.
“I don’t care about the short-term (deal), what I have in my head is to win every game. We have five trophies to fight for. We will see what happens, in seven months we can win some trophies.”
The former Inter Milan boss, who also strongly hinted John Terry would stay on as captain, said he was not put off by talk he is simply keeping the hot-seat warm for Pep Guardiola.
“I have a very good relationship with Guardiola,” he added. “He is a great manager, what will happen in future I don’t know. When you analyse why go to a top side for seven months — it’s because you can win trophies.”
Benitez said he was impressed when he met the squad today.
"My experience is I went to the training session today, everything was fine, they worked really well, I didn't see any problems."
On the misfiring Fernando Torres, whom he enjoyed success with at Liverpool, he said: "I was talking with him like the other players and his attitude was really good." Di Matteo broke his silence on his sacking today, expressing few regrets about his unparalleled eight-month tenure, during whichhe won the Champions League and the FA Cup.
"It was an honour for me to be appointed manager of a club that I loved playing for and one that is so close to my heart," he said in a statement issued by the League Managers Association. "I am extremely proud of the successes and trophies that we were able to bring to the club in recent months. Lifting Chelsea's first Champions League trophy, in Munich, was the best achievement in club history and without doubt the highlight of my career to date, both as a player and manager. It is a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life.
"I have a deep and unreserved passion for Chelsea Football Club and I would like to sincerely thank all of the staff, my players and of course the Chelsea fans, for their tremendous and unconditional support in the intense time I have been the manager at the Bridge. I wish all of them every success for the rest of the season and beyond."