The initial distaste of Chelsea fans towards Spanish manager Rafael Benitez has not worn off during his three months in charge at Stamford Bridge.
In that time, Chelsea have dropped 17 points out of a possible 42 in the Premier League. It leaves Chelsea four points behind second place Manchester City and a whopping 16 points behind Manchester United at the top of the table.
Since the appointment of Benitez and more importantly the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea fans have sung “One Di Matteo” during the 16th minute of every match in honour of the legend’s former shirt number. While managing Liverpool in 2007 Benitez was quoted in The Daily Mail Online saying:
“Chelsea is a big club with fantastic players, every manager wants to coach a such a big team. But I would never take that job, in respect for my former team at Liverpool, no matter what. For me there is only club in England, and that’s Liverpool.
“We don’t need to give away flags for our fans to wave – our supporters are always there with their hearts, and that is all we need. It’s the passion of the fans that helps to win matches – not flags.”
Chelsea fans have been unable to forget these comments and results under Benitez have not helped the issue. However, Roman Abramovich has stuck with the unpopular Spaniard despite crashing out of the FIFA Club World Cup as well as the Capital One Cup.
It is against the owner’s nature to hold onto a manager with such a poor record for so long, but maybe Abramovich has had a change of heart. Benitez is only the interim manager anyway, meaning it's unlikely he will stay past the end of this season. The only opportunities for silverware this year are in the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. However, if Chelsea are to defend their FA Cup, they must first face Middlesbrough and then Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarter-final. That is no simple task especially with the form United have been in this season.
There have been rumours that Jose Mourinho may return to Chelsea at the end of this season. Mourinho seems to want his reign in Spain to come to an end and is eyeing up a possible return to the Premier League. Chelsea fans would welcome Mourinho back with open arms. As of yet, there is no concrete evidence that he will return.
As European Champions, this season may already seem like a failure to many Chelsea fans, but if the squad can remain in the top four and possibly pick up a trophy, all will not be lost. It seems Roman Abramovich is waiting for next season to regroup and perhaps splash some cash in the next transfer window. Chelsea have some young stars at their disposal, so there is always next season to look forward to.
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