Rafael Benitez hopes to win over Chelsea’s fans with a barrage of goals. The interim manager has not been warmly received at Stamford Bridge since his appointment last month. On Sunday, however, his team managed to silence some of the vitriol by putting eight goals past Aston Villa.
Benitez not may expecting his name to be sung any time soon but, ahead of tomorrow’s match at Norwich City, he said that if he can produce more displays like the one against Villa it might help to convince supporters that he is the right man to be at the helm.
“It’s important when you are winning and in the way we are winning at the moment that you send the right message across,” Benitez said.
“If they can do it on the pitch and be successful then it makes it easier.
“I said at the beginning and I will say it at the end: my job is to bring the best from the players, try to get results and try to play the best football.
“I’m sure the fans will appreciate this. It’s just a question of time. I think they will realise I am a professional, I will try to do the best for the club and at the end of the day it’s the best for them because they will enjoy it.
“The fans play every game. It’s the same for the manager. Not every player plays in every game. But the fans and the manager live every game.”
Chelsea are seven points behind Manchester City but do have a game in hand. They also now have, after the disruption of the Club World Cup in Japan, a run of league fixtures and, if they can come close to playing the football they did against Aston Villa, they have a chance of catching the champions.
After tomorrow’s game, Chelsea play Everton away on Sunday before hosting Queen’s Park Rangers in a South London derby next Wednesday evening – three fixtures Benitez will be hoping to not just win, but win well. The Spaniard has been criticised before for being too defensive. His first two Premier League games with Chelsea were 0-0 draws at home. But he rejected the claim that he is a defensive manager and insisted his approach is more to do with blending attack and defence than simply tightening up.
“I have always tried to find the right balance. The balance for me is a clean sheet and yet still attack and score goals,” he added.
“We have the Champions League record, eight goals against Besiktas [with Liverpool in November 2007]. I have always had an attacking mentality, the same mentality throughout my career because I came from Real Madrid [where he was a player at the academy and then a member of the coaching staff].
“The team and the organisation of the team is important to me. Some people see it as defensive. But I don’t. I see it as a way of keeping the organisation of the team but it’s all geared towards being attacking.”
Chelsea are still 11 points away from the Premier League lead but Benitez hopes that more improved performances could take them closer to the top.
“If you play at this level like we showed against Villa then you can always win games. Manchester United drew so you can make up ground because anything can happen,” he said.
“But the problem is that it can happen to you so we need to keep this level of performance and try to keep winning.”
Benitez said the club is “working hard to find the right players” as they look for potential January purchases. With Daniel Sturridge heading to Liverpool, the club need at least one new forward to support Fernando Torres.
Culled from The Independent