Benitez tells fans: We want the same

New Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez told the club's fans he and they wanted the same things after arriving in London.

Last Updated: 22/11/12 at 18:28 Post Comment

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Benitez: Aiming to win trophies

Benitez: Aiming to win trophies

Rafael Benitez told Chelsea fans he and they wanted the same things after arriving in London following his controversial appointment as interim manager.

Benitez told Sky Sports News: "You know, the fans they always want the same as the manager, to win games and to win titles."

The 52-year-old said he would take "one game at a time" but was confident of delivering.

He added: "I think it is a top side. You can challenge for trophies when you are in a top side."

Boudewijn Zenden is set to be named assistant manager after his father, Pierre, told Voetbal International his son was on his way to Chelsea.

"He was approached on Wednesday by Benitez and is now on a flight," he said.

"Since yesterday, he phoned Benitez many times.

"I assume that he will be on the pitch this afternoon, together with the manager.

"I assume he will finish the season, just like Benitez."

Zenden junior, 36, played for Chelsea between 2001 and 2004 before joining Benitez's Liverpool. He has never before held a coaching role.

Blues fans were still in shock after owner Roman Abramovich completed arguably his most controversial day yet at Stamford Bridge by appointing Benitez to succeed Roberto Di Matteo.

The Russian handed the former Liverpool boss a contract until the end of the season, having seemingly been unable to woo the man said to be his number one target.

Confirming new "interim" boss Benitez would meet Chelsea's players on Thursday, the European champions said in a statement: "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 length of Benitez's contract appeared the clearest indication yet of Abramovich's determination to land Pep Guardiola once the former Barcelona boss completes his one-year sabbatical.

And it would be no exaggeration to say Benitez would be the least popular of his eight appointments judging by the reaction of Chelsea supporters on social media.

Indeed, they are unlikely to roll out the welcome mat for his first game in charge against Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.

But all that failed to deter Benitez, who agreed his Chelsea contract during a trip to Abu Dhabi and will look to convince them or another big club to give him a longer-term deal.

It is impossible not to deduce part of Benitez's appeal to Abramovich was his relationship with £50million flop Fernando Torres, who he helped make one of the best strikers in the world at Liverpool.

Di Matteo finally lost patience with Torres in his last match in charge but he expressed few regrets about his unparalleled eight-month tenure last night.

"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."


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