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Football: Benitez blasts Chelsea fans, confirms exit

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez's patience with the club's fans finally snapped on Wednesday as he confirmed his intention to 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.

UPDATE 2-Soccer-Angry Benitez fires broadside at Chelsea fans and board

* Says will leave at end of season * Berates Chelsea board for only interim appointment * Fans wasting time abusing him, Benitez says (Recasts With Benitez comments) By Justin Palmer LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - In a bitter outburst at the fans who have barracked him relentlessly and an angry swipe at the club's board for only appointing him 'interim' manager, Rafael Benitez said on Wednesday he will leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

Football: Benitez rejects Chelsea 'bust-up' reports

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has dismissed media reports of a row between himself and some of his senior players in the aftermath of Sunday's 2-0 Premier League loss at Manchester City. British media reports claimed there had been a flare-up involving Benitez and a posse of players led by captain John Terry, but the Spaniard insisted there had been nothing untoward.

Football: Benitez sets sights on adding to City pain

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has warned Manchester City that his players have set their sights on climbing above the champions in the Premier League table. Benitez's team will move within one point of second-placed City if they beat Roberto Mancini's men at Eastlands on Sunday and the Spaniard believes that could prove the springboard to a strong finish from the west Londoners. Neither side goes into this weekend's clash in the most positive mood after traumatic seasons but Benitez sees signs Chelsea can take advantage of City's recent stumbles.

Football: Benitez keeps peace as Chelsea make last 16

Rafael Benitez played the peacemaker as Chelsea thrashed Brentford 4-0 to reach the FA Cup fifth round despite a series of off-field distractions. Benitez has endured a stormy time at Stamford Bridge since replacing Roberto Di Matteo in November and there seems no end in sight to the list of problems for the beleaguered Spaniard.

Football: Terry slams talk of Benitez rift

John Terry rubbished reports of a rift in his relationship with Rafael Benitez after the Chelsea captain marked his return to the side with a goal in Sunday's 4-0 win over Brentford. Terry had started only two games since Benitez took over as Chelsea's interim manager earlier this season as he struggled to fully recover from a knee injury suffered in November. Benitez had insisted Terry wasn't fit enough to start and it had been widely speculated that the former England international was at loggerheads with the Spaniard over his reduced role.

Football: Benitez dismisses speculation over future

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez dismissed speculation over his future after the spluttering Blues got back on track with a 4-1 win over Wigan. Benitez has struggled to win over Chelsea supporters after his previous spell with their rivals Liverpool and the team's recent run of poor results had sparked renewed speculation that he is facing the sack. The Spaniard woke on Saturday to headlines claiming anything but a win over Wigan would see demanding Blues owner Roman Abramovich wielding the axe for the second time this season following the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo.

Soccer-Chelsea's Terry poised for start against Arsenal

LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Chelsea captain John Terry could make his first start since November in Sunday's home Premier League clash with Arsenal after interim boss Rafael Benitez called for "players with character" on the pitch. The centre bank has been dogged by a knee problem but is in line to return as third-placed Chelsea bid to get their Premier League campaign back on track after a lacklustre 2-2 home draw with Southampton when Terry was a substitute.
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