I was at Stamford Bridge the day that Rafa Benitez was unveiled as Chelsea's latest temporary manager. The roars of disapproval and booing was embarrassing, but Rafa - stubborn as ever - claims he never heard it.
Bore draws with Manchester City and Fulham and a 3-1 defeat at Upton Park, and it looked like Rafa could even be gone by Christmas. But the former Liverpool manager appears to have turned it around.
18 goals in the last 6 games (5 of them victories), has seen Chelsea better defensively, stronger in midfield (where Luiz is supreme) and Fernando Torres scoring freely (7 in the last 6).
But on cue, after 16 minutes (which represents former manager Roberto Di Matteo's shirt number) the fans continue to stand an applaud Benitez's predecessor.
The 5-1 thumping of Leeds United and the 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa in the last few days was heady stuff (and Villa were lucky it wasn't a cricket score). But will Benitez ever be able to do enough to satisfy the Chelsea fans ? Or is he on a hiding to nothing ?
Well, although Rafa will never achieve cult-status at Chelsea, the fans I've spoken to in the last few days say that they may be able to live with him as manager after all (even if he stays on beyond the end of the season). There'll be a few diehards who will never forgive Rafa for not being someone (in fact anyone) else, but the vast majority of Chelsea fans are likely to begrudgingly accept him - as long as the team continues to do well.
How do you feel about Benitez now ?
image: © etyek