- Premier League
Benitez determined to see out season
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has claimed he has an excellent relationship with owner Roman Abramovich after his rant against some of the Blues' fans following their 2-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough on Wednesday.
Benitez heavily criticised a section of the Blues support and also hit out at the club's decision to give him the title of 'interim manager'.
Indeed, his criticism sparked suggestions his tenure in charge could come to an end ahead of the weekend, but the Spaniard told the BBC Football Focus host Dan Walker that he would stay until May.
"My relationship with the owner is really good,'' Benitez said. "Every time I talk to Abramovich about football, I enjoy [it]. I know that he wants to win. I'm here because he wants to win and I will try to do my best until the last day.
"The relationship is fine. I don't have any problem with anyone. I have conversations with Michael Emenalo, the technical director, every single day. He watches the training sessions, we talk about football and when I meet Roman Abramovich, we talk about football. We talk like normal people. We share a passion for football.''
Reports of dressing room unrest, including a dispute with captain John Terry, have been played down and Benitez is adamant there are no major concerns.
"My relationship with the staff, the people at Cobham, is really good, fantastic,'' Benitez added." The players are fully behind our ideas, 100%.''
Benitez took training at the club's Cobham base on Thursday morning and looks set to be in charge for Saturday's Premier League clash with West Brom after the club maintained it was "business as usual'', although the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge and taunts towards Benitez could be more toxic than usual.
In 27 matches, Benitez has 14 wins and a victory percentage of 52%, which - alongside Villas-Boas - is the poorest start of any of the nine managers in the Abramovich era.
Whoever replaces the Spaniard will become the 10th manager in 10 years under Abramovich, with Manuel Pellegrini favourite for the job this summer.
Brighton manager and former Blues midfielder Gus Poyet, however, has welcomed his link to the job of Chelsea boss
"That's my aim. Everybody knows. I don't hide it," he said. "I want to go to the highest level and if it's the Premiership and it's Chelsea, fantastic. I like the speculation because it means we are doing something right. But it doesn't change my life at the moment.''