• Premier League

Benitez stands by strident remarks

ESPN staff
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Rafa Benitez insists he will remain until the summer © PA Photos
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Chelsea's interim manager Rafa Benitez has defended the comments he made in the wake of his side's 2-0 FA Cup victory at Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

Following that win at the Riverside Stadium, an angry Benitez hit out at some of the club's fans, accusing them of "not helping the team" - while also saying that making his job title 'interim manager' had been "a massive mistake".

Although he confirmed he would leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, his comments led to speculation that he would not even be in charge for Saturday's game at home to West Bromwich Albion.

But after Chelsea said on Thursday that it was business as usual, Benitez told reporters: "If you analyse carefully what I said, what I was trying to explain is that we have 11 games to play. That means 33 points.

"So I felt that, if we stick together behind the team, it will be easy for us to get points.

"It is a big difference when you have everybody behind the team, pushing and pushing. That was my idea. The message is clear."

He again insisted his relationship with the Chelsea hierarchy and the club's players is good, stressing: "I didn't have any problem with the board, I didn't have any problem with [technical director] Michael Emenalo or Roman Abramovich. I don't have any problems with the players.

"So what I want to do is the best for the team, the best for the club."

Asked whether his comments had made his difficult situation at Stamford Bridge - where he replaced the controversially-sacked Roberto Di Matteo - worse, he said: "I am trying to say that if we stick behind the team, all together, everyone will be much better.

"The players will perform much better, we can win more points and everyone can be happier at the end of the season."

And when a reporter asked him whether he had spoken to Abramovich since Wednesday night, he said only: "This is my business."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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