Connect to share and comment

Football: Angry Benitez blasts Chelsea fans, confirms exit

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Interim manager Rafael Benitez's patience with the Chelsea fans finally snapped on Wednesday as he confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the season.

Benitez has been targeted by sections of the club's support ever since he was appointed as the successor to Roberto Di Matteo last November.

Chelsea beat Middlesbrough 2-0 on Wednesday to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals and they are also in the last 16 of the Europa League, but they have slipped to fourth place in the Premier League.

Benitez was only appointed on a temporary basis but he confirmed in an angry press conference that the abuse he has received from some of Chelsea's fans had prompted him to abandon his ambition to coach the team on a permanent basis.

"I have been in charge in football for 26 years," he said after the victory at Middlesbrough.

"I have won the Champions League, won the FIFA Club World Cup, the FA Cup, the Italian Super Cup, the Spanish league twice, nine trophies, all the trophies you can win at club level.

"A group of fans, they are not doing any favours for the team when they are singing and wasting time preparing banners."

Benitez also appeared to take issue with the Chelsea management for insisting on the temporary nature of his employment.

"It's because someone made a mistake. They put my title 'interim manager', and I will leave at the end of the season, so they (the fans) don't need to waste time with me," he said.

"They have to concentrate on supporting the team, that's what they have to do. In the end, they are not doing any favours to the club, to the rest of the fans and to the players.

"Every game they continue singing and they continue preparing banners, they are wasting time. What they have to do is support the team.

"If we cannot achieve what we expect to achieve, that is to be in the top four and be in the Champions League for next year, I will leave. They will stay in the Europa League and they have to take responsibility too.

"I am the manager and I will be managing the team. I pick my team and I will make decisions. And then I will leave anyway -- because I'm interim, as they say -- so they're wasting their time."

Benitez was roundly booed during his initial appearances in the Chelsea dug-out and was also the target of jeers during the game at Middlesbrough.

His critics among Chelsea's supporters were aggrieved by the appointment of a man who previously spent six years at Liverpool during a period of intense rivalry between the two clubs.

The 52-year-old Spaniard alluded to the problems caused by his Liverpool connections, saying: "Why put 'interim' in the title? Why did they need to do that? Maybe they thought, 'He was at Liverpool, so put 'interim'.'"

thw/dj

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130227/football-angry-benitez-blasts-chelsea-fans-confirms-exit-0