- Premier League
Benitez: I deserve long-term Chelsea deal
Rafael Benitez believes he has done enough to earn a long-term contract with Chelsea, urging Stamford Bridge officials to give him time to rediscover the club's winning formula.
Benitez insists he will not be able to lay down his ideals at Chelsea unless he is given a full pre-season to work with the squad, stating circumstances have conspired against him during a turbulent two-month stint at the European champions.
The odds on Benitez being named as full time Chelsea boss have lengthened since their Capital One Cup exit at Swansea last Wednesday, but the Spaniard says he is ready to continue at the club despite ongoing protests from the club's supporters over his presence on the touchline.
"This Chelsea team have enough quality and they're a good squad, but the circumstances of this year have been difficult," Benitez said. "This is a top side and if they continue doing things in the right way they will always be challenging for trophies, but it has been tough for me so far.
"If you analyse all the managers (at Chelsea), how many had a pre-season here? Not me. How many managers have spent massive money here? Not me. How many managers have played in Japan in the middle of the season and have some players injured and some at the African Nations? Only me."
After bringing in Demba Ba to strengthen the Blues' squad, Benitez feels he has done enough to demonstrate he has a long-term vision for the club.
"I want to be at a top side and Chelsea is a top side with great potential. It is a great opportunity," he added. "I've had private conversations with the people in charge and the owner. They know my ideas, they listen to me, we talk and they have to decide.
"I came in mid-season, so I could not change too much and had to work with the squad I had. I gave my opinions, we signed a striker and we're trying to do what is best for the team and the club.
Benitez's hard luck story will fall on deaf ears if Chelsea crash to defeat at Brentford in the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon, with skipper John Terry set to start his first game since mid-November as he returns from a knee injury.