Rafa Benitez lets it all hang out

Yesterday should have been a celebratory one for Chelsea, as two second half goals from Ramires and Victor Moses against Championship side Middlesbrough were enough to propel the struggling London club into the FA Cup quarter-finals. Despite their good start to the season, they have slipped down to 4th in the league, have been eliminated from the CL in the group stages, and barely scraped by to beat Sparta Prague in the Europa League, so success in the FA Cup is likely the only shot the Blues have at winning any silverware this season.

Anyway, despite the much-needed victory, interim manager Rafa Benitez, whom nobody really wanted at the helm, decided that he had something stuck in his craw and decided to vent his frustrations following the game. The Spaniard, who previously coached Liverpool and Inter before arriving in November to replace Roberto Di Matteo, has done little to endear himself to the club’s fans. In fact, following his dismissal from Inter in 2010, he had been unemployed for nearly 2 years with no clubs running to break down his door. Since arriving, he has posted the worst record of any manager under Roman Abramovich’s ownership, which given the revolving door that has characterized the Russian czar’s decade-long reign, is certainly not something that will earn him a contract extension come May. Especially not with the persistent rumors linking more established and successful coaches with the managerial hot seat at Stamford Bridge.

Bent out of shape due to a few traveling fans, Benitez railed against the club’s supporters and management, showing that he has already resigned himself to the fact that he’ll be on the unemployed list come the end of the season. Or, given his Russian boss’s penchant for firing managers, don’t be surprised if his dismissal comes before May, despite he himself stating he will be gone by the end of the season. Well, that’s as certain as, let’s say, the EPL title being claimed by a Manchester club (most likely United) this May and whether his departure is of his own choosing or someone else’s, Chelsea fans will only have to tolerate him for  2-3 more months at the most.

So, with gems like the following: griping about a title “interim manager” vs. “manager” and threats about plying their trade in the Europa League for a second consecutive season instead of the CL unless if he gets 100% behind him, it’s surely going to be an interesting few months for the club. Even if they manage to win the FA Cup and do what Porto did from 2002-2004 except in reverse (winning the EL followed by the CL) vociferous fans can rest assured that the Benitez era will just be a distant memory in a few months.

But for the time being, in all honesty, their negative attitude isn’t really helping the club much, so for the time being, it’s best to suck it up and hope that the Blues have something to celebrate come May.

by Michelle Bonsu