• Premier League

Benitez defiant in face of Bridge boos

ESPN staff
November 25, 2012
Rafael Benitez: I'll win fans over

Rafael Benitez insisted he could not hear Chelsea fans booing after enduring a hostile reception at Stamford Bridge.

In his first game in charge, Benitez saw his side keep a clean sheet in a goalless draw with champions Manchester City.

However, the former Liverpool boss was booed by the Chelsea faithful who protested his appointment. In the 16th minute, the home fans staged a minute's applause for departed boss Roberto Di Matteo in recognition of his shirt number as a player.

However, Benitez was adamant he could not hear the remonstrations as he remained entirely focused on the fortunes of his new players.

"I can guarantee because I was focused on the game I did not listen to the crowd," Benitez told Sky Sports. "I don't know if they said something or not. For me the main thing was team and their performance on the pitch.

"I was not listening; I was just concentrating on the game. You could see my body language in the dugout I was just trying to give instructions to my players."

When asked what he could do to win over the Chelsea faithful, Benitez replied: "Keep working on the pitch and try to win the next game."

Chelsea have now picked up just three points from their last five Premier League matches to slip five points off the pace of leaders Manchester United. But Benitez insists there were plenty of positives to take from the match, including a clean sheet against the champions.

"It was a tough game against a good team, no clear chances for them or us," Benitez said. "It is not the ideal result but to have a clean sheet for the first time and see the spirit and mentality and work rate was quite positive.

"You could see they were trying really hard with and without the ball and against a great team they had some chances.''

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