Wembley

Next Game

Arsenal v Chelsea

Sunday, 02 August 2015, 15:00

FA Community Shield

FedExField

Last Game

Chelsea 2 - 2 Barcelona

Wednesday, 29 July 2015, 01:00

Int Champs Cup North America

Benitez to begin Chelsea reign

New boss Rafael Benitez will meet Chelsea's players on Thursday as he attempts to swiftly revive the club's flagging fortunes.

Last Updated: 22/11/12 at 12:03 Post Comment

Rafael Benitez: Starts his reign at Chelsea on Thursday

Rafael Benitez: Starts his reign at Chelsea on Thursday

The Spaniard was quickly installed in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat on Wednesday night on an interim deal until the end of the season, just hours after Roberto Di Matteo was axed following the club's 3-0 defeat by Juventus in the UEFA Champions League.

Benitez will appear at a news conference on Thursday afternoon after cutting short an engagement in the Middle East, and he will have little time in which to prepare his side for Sunday's crucial Premier League home date against Manchester City.

Four league games without a win have seen Chelsea slip four points behind leaders City, while the Champions League holders face elimination at the group stage following a dismal result in Turin.

Benitez will be reunited with Fernando Torres in west London and will be hoping to bring the best out of the struggling striker, who enjoyed a prolific spell while working with him at Liverpool.

The 52-year-old, who will name Boudewijn Zenden as his assistant according to the Dutchman's father and agent, may also have to win over the club's supporters as he was involved in some fiery clashes with Chelsea during his reign at Anfield.

But he must find his feet fast, with London derbies against Fulham and West Ham on the horizon following the top-of-the-table clash with City.

Objectives

Benitez has been drafted in by Chelsea in their hour of need due to his vast experience of Premier League and European football, and they are convinced that they have the right man for the job.

On announcing his appointment, a statement released by the Blues read: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed interim first-team manager until the end of the season.

"The owner and the board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives.

"The 52-year-old Spaniard is due to meet the players at the training ground in Cobham on Thursday.

"The two-time UEFA Manager of the Year comes with outstanding pedigree. He began his managerial career in his homeland, most notably at Valencia where he built a reputation as one of Europe's top coaches by winning the Spanish League twice and the UEFA Cup.

"He then spent six years at Liverpool and led them to their fifth European Cup and an FA Cup."

While offered the opportunity to guide Chelsea towards a future they hope will be brighter than their recent past, Benitez will be hard pushed to match the achievements of the man he has just replaced.

Proud

Di Matteo, who initially inherited the reins on a caretaker basis before being handed a permanent deal over the summer, guided the Blues to Champions League and FA Cup success in 2011/12.

An impressive trophy haul helped the former Italy international to cement his cult hero standing in the eyes of the Chelsea supporters - after earning a reputation as a man for the big occasion during his playing days at Stamford Bridge - and Di Matteo insists the time he has spent with the club over two spells will always hold a special place in his heart.

"It was an honour for me to be appointed manager of a club that I loved playing for and one that is so close to my heart," he said in a statement issued by the League Managers Association.

"I am extremely proud of the successes and trophies that we were able to bring to the club in recent months.

"Lifting Chelsea's first Champions League trophy, in Munich, was the best achievement in club history and without doubt the highlight of my career to date, both as a player and manager. It is a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life.

"I have a deep and unreserved passion for Chelsea Football Club and I would like to sincerely thank all of the staff, my players and of course the Chelsea fans, for their tremendous and unconditioned support in the intense time I have been the manager at the Bridge. I wish all of them every success for the rest of the season and beyond."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

t's a bloody good goal, though. Sh!t, the kid's gonna be the worlds best before we know it, isn't he? He's got the touch of genius in him. Like Neymar, but with muscles and stuff. He's doing a Ronaldo as we watch. He's bulked up to be able to ride the tackles, but he's improved technically as well. His touch is sublime. Bugger.

HarryBoulton
WATCH: Hazard's stunning goal

A

hhh, Jose arguing with another managers wife, clearest sign yet that we are going mental during the close season. I am rocking back and forth on my haunches.

hump3.
Jose hits back at Rafa's wife

I

t's only a matter of time before one of them throws in a yo mamma

lee
Jose hits back at Rafa's wife

Footer 365

Real reopen talks over £28m De Gea deal

Real Madrid have reportedly reopened negotiations with Manchester United over David de Gea and may complete a deal in the coming days.

Muller has a job for life at Bayern

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge feels that Thomas Muller 'will never leave ' Bayern Munich and has offered the forward a job for life at the club.

Jose Mourinho: Rafael Benitez destroyed Inter Milan and his wife should take care of his diet

Jose Mourinho has hit back at Rafael Benitez’s wife, saying her husband 'destroyed' Inter Milan and she should take care of his diet.

Mail Box

Mails: Let's Talk About Jose's Failures...

We don't talk about them because Chelsea won the title...but imagine if LVG or Brendan Rodgers had signed Juan Cuadrado. Plus, a trawl through the squads...

Di Maria Just Didn't Fit (S**t Happens)

If a signing doesn't work there doesn't have to be a massive witch hunt. So there. Plus a detailed net spend rant, Breel Embolo, computer games and Louis van Gaal...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company