Rafa Benitez has vowed to win over the Chelsea fans who booed him at the weekend, and believes he can do so by winning games. Benitez received sustained abuse through the game at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, as Chelsea fans made their feelings on Abramovich’s latest appointment abundantly clear.
A prominent Chelsea supporters group has said that the boos will continue for Benitez, as the fans try to make the powers at be realise they don’t want him. Trizia Fiorellino, Chair of the Chelsea Supporter’s Group said:
“The fans don't expect to pick and choose the managers but it was pretty evident there were only two people that were not acceptable in this case - Benitez and Avram Grant.
"It was almost as if the board and the owner were trying to send a message to the fans to say 'we run this club, not you - you have no say.’”
There has even been a call for Benitez to apologise for his quotes about Chelsea when he was in charge at Liverpool.
Benitez has today suggested that Fernando Torres’ recent lack of goals must be partly attributed to his teammates saying:
“I think the team has to help Fernando and create more chances, and he will score goals. You cannot expect a striker scoring just on his own, so we have to create more and better chances for him with the players we have.”
Petr Cech has called on his teammates to adapt to life under Benitez quickly and start producing results. The keeper has now played under eight different managers at Stamford Bridge, and his message to his teammates was that you either adapt to the change of circumstances or leave.
Florent Malouda may have hoped a change in manager may mean he is given a chance to regain his place in the Chelsea team, but he will likely still leave this January, with Benitez not keen to reintegrate him into first team activities.
Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard have been named in FIFA’s 15-man shortlist for midfield spots in their World XI 2012. They join Cech, Terry, Cole, Ivanovic and Luiz who were on the defender shortlist released last week.
image: © Ben Sutherland