• Premier League

Benitez working hard to win over fans

ESPN staff
December 21, 2012
Rafa Benitez is 'relaxed' about his relationship with the fans © PA Photos

Rafa Benitez says he is working hard to convince people at Chelsea that he is the right man for the club.

Benitez, appointed as interim manager after the controversial dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo, has won four, drawn two and lost two of his first eight games across four competitions as he tries to win over the doubters at Stamford Bridge.

On Thursday, he told Spanish radio show Al Primer Toque that people would come around to his way of thinking once the Blues started winning more games.

"My challenge is to try to win and do things well - it is a question of time to convince many people," he said. "If we win some games, it will be more easy to convince them.

"I am very relaxed. Sometimes I do not understand the chants against me. I am focused on the game and do not know what is going on in the stands. I never said I would never coach a team like Chelsea."

Benitez said he knew on taking the job that it would not be plain sailing because clubs such as Chelsea only changed managers in mid-season when there were challenges which needed to be overcome.

"I accepted Chelsea's offer as I believe it is a good option," he added. "I studied the market to know what options there were, and when they could come up.

"When you wait for a team at the top, something has to be going very badly [there] for you to get the chance."

The former Valencia, Liverpool and Internazionale boss claimed last weekend's loss to Corinthians in the World Club Cup had been partly down to the Brazilian team having more time to prepare for the tournament.

"It was the third final I played and I wanted to give it a lot of emphasis," he said. "Corinthians had two weeks there training just for it."

Benitez said he was working with Fernando Torres to improve his game, getting him to play closer to the opposition goal.

"Fernando has worked and is working very hard," he said. "He can still improve and he knows that. We are making small adjustments to the squad and in the area of motivation.

"His principal job must be in attack, and he should be as close as possible to the penalty area."

Benitez, a former Real Madrid youth team coach, said he was surprised by the current problems facing Los Blancos but declined to talk in detail about the possibility of returning to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu as soon as next summer.

"I know some things," he said. "But I am not going to talk about Real Madrid, because I believe I should not."

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