27th of November 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Chelsea supporters will boo interim boss Rafael Benitez until the end of the season, according to a fans' group. Benitez was jeered during Sunday's match against Manchester City. "We want the powers that be to realise we didn't want him," said Trizia Fiorellino, chair of Chelsea Supporters' Group. David Johnstone, spokesman for the cfcuk fanzine, says booing "doesn't help the team".
Former Liverpool and Inter manager Benitez took over from Roberto Di Matteo, who was sacked after the team lost to Juventus in the Champions League. Speaking after Sunday's 0-0 draw with Manchester City, Benitez said that he wanted to change the perception of the fans by winning games. But Fiorellino said: "The strength of feeling surprised even those in charge . It was quite venomous right at the beginning. The fans don't expect to pick and choose the managers but it was pretty evident there were only two people that were not acceptable in this case - Benitez and Avram Grant. It was almost as if the board and the owner were trying to send a message to the fans to say 'we run this club, not you - you have no say'. Benitez is not popular and I think he will remain unpopular throughout his reign."
Rafael Benitez has upset Chelsea fans during his reign at Liverpool by accusing former striker Didier Drogba of diving, and saying : "We don't need to give away flags for our fans to wave - our supporters are always there with their hearts, and that is all we need. It's the passion of the fans that helps to win matches - not flags."
Johnstone said: "I think it'll probably be something we'll be talking about for the rest of the season. I feel it would be best for the manager to come out and fully explain his comments about the supporters. When he was the Liverpool manager, what he said was more than banter. I don't think managers should get involved in that kind of thing. I like to think it would help if he confronted these issues but he's going to have to do a lot to convince people. Even if he wins things I don't think people will be convinced."
David Johnstone also believes that some of Benitez's comments since he joined Chelsea have also caused discontent among the fans, in particular the suggestion that senior players Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole could leave the club. "Fans are extremely upset about what he said about Lampard and Cole. The crowd are desperate for them to stay," Johnstone added.
Chelsea's next game is on November 28, at home against Fulham. Here are the odds from Bet365:
Chelsea win - 4/9
Draw - 7/2
Fulham win - 6/1
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