The Spaniard had told supporters “not to waste their time” making banners or singing songs about him, and called for them to “take responsibility” for the team’s current league position. And with a sour reception expected when he emerges from the tunnel at Stamford Bridge for the Premier League clash, the former Liverpool boss has moved to diffuse the situation.
“I’ve been training and coaching for 26 years and always I have had principles,” he told reporters. “Respect and education is the way I have achieved what I have achieved. I would like to see a fantastic atmosphere with everyone supporting the team, I will be pleased with that. I am part of the team, I need their support. I will do my best until the last day. This is the way I was taught at Real Madrid,” he added.
Another target of Benitez’s ire on Wednesday was that he had only been given the role of ‘interim’ manager, something he claimed was a mistake. But he has performed a U-turn on his complaints and insisted that he does not mind his title. “In my head I am the manager and I have to manage the team. The title doesn’t matter, if you win the Champions League that is a ‘title’ but I always concentrate on my job. It’s fine, it’s okay,” he said.
Benitez also claimed that he has no problems with any senior figures at the club, or the players, after rumours that he would be fired following his fiery interview on Wednesday. “I could read that I have problems with (Michael) Emenalo, with the board. Yesterday, I was talking to him, he was saying ‘it is cold and you are training in shorts’.
We had a conversation and we were talking about football. I have experience in doing things with respect and dedication. I keep my passion. My ambition is to win two trophies. “The message is clear, I didn’t have any problems with the board, I didn’t have any problems with Emenalo, I didn’t have any problems with Roman Abramovich,” he added.