Many Chelsea supporters have been less than impressed with Rafa Benitez at the helm and for most of the season they have a point, but have they forgotten why Rafa was appointed to start with?
Villas-Boas had been sacked by Chelsea after a run of poor results and a player backlash against his tactical approach to games. Di Matteo was his assistant and he managed to get the players on his side, as he tactically outwitted many top European sides to get a place in the final against Bayern Munich in Bayern’s House.
Di Matteo started the next season as full time manager, with a big budget to make sure the Champions League returned to Stamford Bridge for a second season and to challenge for the Premier League.
Di Matteo managed to recruit Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin, Victor Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta to start this charge and had a very good start to the season (considering Chelsea lost Drogba as his contract had finished to allow him to make a move to Shanghai). Losing a valuable player and leader in your first defence of the Champions League, would always be hard to overcome.
When Di Matteo was sacked, it caused a media frenzy and a call for Abramovich to step down. He had sacked another manager for not winning enough games with his financial backing.
So without a manager, Chelsea were consistently linked with Guardiola, who was on a sabbatical at the time. Roman would have to look elsewhere.
So, congratulations Mr Benitez you have won Bully’s Special Prize which would prove to be his BFH (bus fair home) as he had the most difficult job in football. His appointment was made mostly because he was not in a job at the time, which suited the Chelsea board but not the fans. During his time at Liverpool, Benitez made himself a villain to the Chelsea faithful and when it was announced he got the job, the majority of the fans did not reacted kindly.
He may not even have started, yet Rafa had to now win over the fans. He begun to get them on his side, with a few decent performances and playing the attractive football the fans wanted, but every time the team drew or lost the fans then reverted quickly back to Rafa the Villain.
Di Matteo was a popular figure with the fans and players, which made Benitez’s job an even more difficult one. Some of the players started to question his tactics and man management and within a few games, it was becoming clear that Rafa had taken a lot on.
Rafa had to take the Chelsea job as he needed to get himself back into management and Chelsea needed an experienced manager to warm the seat for a new manager in the summer. I would like to see Rafa get a job at another top European team as if he had more backing and time to do his job properly we will see the Rafa we know from his Liverpool and Valencia days.
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