It seems fair to say that Rafa Benitez wasn’t exactly a popular choice as the new Chelsea manager. Following the somewhat harsh sacking of Roberto Di Matteo though, he is the man charged with taking the Blues forward.
The former Liverpool boss took charge of his first game on Sunday afternoon as his team drew 0-0 at home to Premier League Champions Mancheser City. It was far from entertaining encounter and afterwards, the talk was all about the Chelsea fans.
They packed out Stamford Bridge, but there were boos when Benitez emerged from the tunnel and some ‘Rafa Out’ signs were clearly displayed in various sections of the stadium. However, the new Chelsea boss isn’t worried, saying he can win over the supporters before long.
The Spaniard said: “When fans are singing for me or against me I don’t care. I want to change the perception. How will I do it? By working hard, doing my best and winning games.
“I said I will concentrate on the game and will not pay attention to anything but the performances.
“I have been here in England for eight years and I’ve heard a lot of things. They will see that I am a professional and I will try to do my job to the best I can.”
After being pushed on the matter, he then referred specifically to the ‘Rafa Out’ banners, saying: “How many people do you need to write a banner? Maybe one and two to hold it up.
“If we start winning games they will come on board and they will see that I will try to do my best for them. I have confidence we will win games and some of the fans will realise it is not the way to support your team. “
In summary, Benitez has replaced a club legend, played out a dull 0-0 draw and criticised the home fans all in the space of a few days. They say the only way is up, but a couple of negative results and this could get very ugly, very quickly.
Next up for Chelsea is a home game with Fulham on Wednesday evening and although it is remarkably early to say this, it has to be seen as a must win for Benitez.
Otherwise, the 20/1 odds on him being the next manager to be sacked look more appealing by the day.
Never dull at Chelsea is it?