First Rafa took on the Chelsea board saying that the decision to give him the title of “interim manager” was a “massive mistake”.
“Chelsea gave me the title of interim manager, which is a massive mistake. I’m the manager.
“I have a title. Someone decided the title would be interim. Why? Just in case?” said Benitez.
“Fine, that is your decision. I don’t agree, but that is your decision and now everybody has to take responsibility.
“Everybody is interim because after you there is another one. In this case they didn’t have anyone so why did they put interim?
“I can’t change the titles and the perception so it doesn’t matter now. What I have to do is be sure that I give 100% every single day. They will know I am trying to do my best.
“The manager is the manager. One month, three months, seven months – it doesn’t matter.
Rafa then turned his aim on the vocal minority of Chelsea fans who have been against his hiring from the beginning:
“I have been in charge in football for 26 years, I won the Champions League, I won the Fifa Club World Cup, the FA Cup, the Italian Super Cup, the Spanish league twice, nine trophies – all the trophies you can win at club level,” said Benitez after a comfortable victory at the Riverside.
“So this group of fans are not making any favourites with the team and they are singing and wasting time preparing banners.
“They have to concentrate on supporting the team, that’s what they have to do.
“Every game they continue singing and preparing banners, they are wasting time. What they have to do is support the team.
“I am a professional and I am doing my job. What I want to do is win every single game for Chelsea.”
Rafa did give those Chelsea fans something to celebrate, besides a cup victory by adding:
“At the end of the season I will leave. They don’t have to worry about me.”
This was a very measured press conference by Benitez. He was very much in control of himself and I don’t think that many fans can argue with his points. It was stupid to give him the title of interim manager. The fans attitude towards him has affected how the team plays at home, and that he has no desire to stay in the job after the season ends.
The surprise was that he actually said these things out loud in a press conference.