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Stamford Bridge is falling down on Rafa

ANALYST
731   //    03 Dec 2012, 09:11 IST

Rafa Benitez has created history in his few days as Chelsea’s ‘interim’ manager – He has the made the worst start by a Chelsea manager in the Abramovich era. No wins from three games and just one goal scored shows that the job he has undertaken is a tougher one than he thought.

Rafa’s profile seems to be on the wane and he must turn things around soon, else, he might risk tarnishing his managerial CV. He overtook Mourinho’s treble winning side at Inter, but managed to last just 6 months. Now once again Rafa is in charge of the European champions, and must play his cards wisely to last the given length of his contract.

His first two home games have been a disaster so far. It is known that Chelsea manager must be able to handle the pressure put on him by the owner and the board, but the abuse thrown at him by the fans is something he surely could do without.

This is what Jonathan Pearce (BBC Match of the Day commentator) had to say during Benitiz’s first match, against Manchester City:

“I have never heard in the history of the Premier League such a reaction to the appointment of a new manager as I have just heard from the Chelsea fans to Rafael Benitez. There were universal boos for the new boss.”

Rafa Benitez, like Avram Grant, was appointed straight after the sacking of a very popular leader, and his unpopularity with the Chelsea fans from his Liverpool days will surely make it an uphill battle to win them over.

Rafael Benitez’s interview clearly stated that the booing was something that he had quite clearly anticipated:

“I don’t think it will be bad because they know they have to support the manager because he is the manager of their team. When you are the manager of the team that is their big rivals it is normal (to get a bad reception). Now they know I will do my best for them and the team and will try to win.”

For a man who guided Liverpool to two Champions league finals, winning one of them, battling with Chelsea during their European excursions – taking the Chelsea job (that too as an interim manager) must be something of a last resort. Perhaps as Sir Alex stated – the chance of adding the Club World Cup on to his CV was a chance he didn’t want to miss.

That reception that Benitez got at his first game clearly brings back horrible memories of McLeish’s appointment at Villa last season, showing signs of the fact that maybe Abramovich hasn’t done his homework this time around.

There were chants from the Matthew Harding Stand of “We don’t want you here” (as heard at Birmingham last season) for Benitez.”

ESPN pundit Steve McMahon criticized the Chelsea fans reaction by stating that the “boos” should be aimed at the owner, as it was his decision to sack Di Matteo.

Abramovich has invested a lot in the club and decides what is best for the club. Rafa’s appointment as interim manager clearly states that Abramovich is waiting for the right person to become available. Guardiola perhaps?

If not Rafa, then Harry Redknapp would have been the other candidate who was available but McMahon wasn’t sure if the Chelsea fans would have been happy even with the appointment of the former Spurs boss.

Fans singing “Give us back our Chelsea”, must beware of what they wish for because it’s the big man’s money that has got them where they are right now and chants such as-

“You’re just a fat Spanish waiter” (re Rafa)

“We wanted you to stay.” (re Di Matteo)

“Only one Di Matteo.” (re Di Matteo)

Just prevent Rafa from doing his job right now.

This was supposed to be a transitional season for Chelsea, who came 6th last season, and whereas people would have accepted a few bad results or a slump in form before – now it’s all Rafa’s fault.

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