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Rafa Benitez bids to win round Chelsea fans

The former Liverpool boss will face the press this evening.

An unhappy Chelsea fan outside the club's Cobham training facility today.
An unhappy Chelsea fan outside the club's Cobham training facility today.

RAFA BENITEZ TRIED to overcome hostility from Chelsea fans angry with his appointment as interim manager by insisting both he and they wanted the same things.

The Spaniard started life with the European champions today after the London club sacked Roberto di Matteo.

The former Liverpool manager was getting to know the Blues squad at their Cobham training ground, south of London, before facing the media at Stamford Bridge this evening.

During his years at Anfield, Benitez became something of a ‘hate figure’ with Chelsea fans but he told Britain’s Sky Sports on Thursday: “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 success even though his present contracts only runs until the end of the season. He added: “I think it is a top side. You can challenge for trophies when you are in a top side.”

Meanwhile press reports said former Dutch midfielder Boudewijn Zenden, who played for Chelsea and later under Benitez at Liverpool, had been appointed as the new Blues boss’s deputy.

Di Matteo was fired after Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat by Juventus in Turin left Chelsea facing elimination at the group stage of the Champions League they won last year.

His dismissal means that Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s Russian billionaire owner, has now sacked seven managers since buying the club in 2003.

- © AFP, 2012

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