Chelsea supporters expressed their disapproval over the appointment of Rafael Benitez as manager, following the sacking last week of Roberto Di Matteo. Fans held aloft placards and notices, and actively booed the Spaniard, during his first game in charge against Manchester City. The controversial change of manager has left Chelsea with a lot of bewildered fans, and has put Benitez into the firing line right away. He initially denied having heard the booes and catcalls, but later on admitted that he was aware of the animosity towards him. In his fairness, nobody was going to step into the role easily.
Focused on the Game
Benitez was adamant that he was the man for the job, and expressed the opinion that h was there to get the best out of the players:
“The main thing is that the players are focused on the games,” he said. “If they are, it’ll be fine. I have confidence we will do well and win games. Some of the fans will realise it’s not the way to support their team. They’ll know they have a professional manager in charge, someone who wants to win games. I was just concentrating on the game and not listening to anything else. My experience in England is that when the fans are singing in the stands, I don’t understand what they say.”
The former Liverpool manager saw a match with a reserved style, with his side only managing a single shot on goal in a 0-0 draw.
Di Matteo was, and is, a local hero here, having played for the team and managed them through successes, and the fans support for him was displayed in the 16th minute when the crowd began to chant his name feverishly; 16 was the number of the shirt that he famously wore when he played at Stamford Bridge. Although he led them to FA Cup and Champion League victories, Di Matteo was unceremoniously dumped after a poor showing this year. It is doubtful thwart Benitez, who is on a short term contract, will ever garner the same level of respect.