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What They Said: Benitez pleased, Carragher emotional

ESPN staff
May 19, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Benitez explains lap of honour snub

Rafael Benitez believes he did a good job at Chelsea and feels the majority of the fans were pleased with his work at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard departs the club on the back of a 2-1 victory over Everton, and also winning the Europa League and guiding the Blues into next season's Champions League with a third place finish in the Premier League.

Benitez's appointment was a controversial one back in November as the Chelsea fans were reeling from the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo - who won the club's maiden Champions League - and did not forget Benitez's criticism towards Chelsea whilst in charge of Liverpool.

"I received a lot of messages. I was quite happy with the response of a lot of the fans. You can't change the opinion of everyone but a lot of people realise what we've tried to do," Benitez - who refused to go on Chelsea's lap of honour - said to BBC Sport on Sunday.

"You prefer people supporting the team and you, but if it's not the case you just try to do your job as well as you can. Winning finals and finishing third, with a team that finished sixth last year, is quite good."

David Moyes managed his final game for Everton, and the successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United hailed his side, who finished sixth in the table.

"We have had a fabulous season. I think if you'd asked the bookies at the start of the season where they'd have thought Everton would finish they'd have said somewhere around here but there are a lot of good teams below us as well.

Jamie Carragher brought the curtain down on his Liverpool career after 17 years as the Reds defeated Queens Park Rangers 1-0 at Anfield.

"It was very emotional, especially for my friends and family in the stands who have been there to watch me all the time, but that's come to an end now unfortunately," Carragher told Sky Sports.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praised Carragher after the game. "Jamie's ambition was always when he left Liverpool to go out on top and you see in the guy today he did that," he said.

Jamie Carragher was given a great send-off by the Liverpool fans © Getty Images
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QPR boss Harry Redknapp admitted returning to the Premier League from the Championship will be difficult.

"We've got no divine right to come straight back up. We'll have to work hard," Redknapp said, who was less than happy with some of the attitude of his players in the squad.

"I've inherited a group with some good professionals and also with people who are not so good. That has been the problem. Lots of them can't get up early enough to get to training on time. One player's picked up more fines than he earns and he earns enough."

Manchester City ended the campaign on a low note after the former champions were beaten 3-2 at home by Norwich, and interim manager Brian Kidd was glad to see the supporters show their appreciation for the sacked Roberto Mancini.

"I understand the cheers for the boss, he would have been disappointed if there wasn't for what he did here," Kidd said.

Norwich boss Chris Hughton was pleased with the strong end his side made to the season as the Canaries sealed 11th place. "I'm absolutely delighted with that. It shows, irrespective of the anxiety at certain periods, it is really about where you finish at the end of the season. We are delighted to have done that," he said.

Alan Pardew insists he will still be Newcastle boss come next season. "I'm pretty confident I'll be the manager here," he said after the 1-0 loss to Arsenal.

Paolo Di Canio was proud of his Sunderland players despite going down 1-0 at Tottenham to Gareth Bale's late strike. "We're obviously disappointed with the result but the lads have done a very good job. They gave everything in terms of commitment and desire but we're still going back with zero points from the game," the Italian said.

Mauricio Pochettino was left disappointed with the 1-1 draw against Stoke. "We wanted to win, but weren't able to do so," he said.

Michael Owen waved goodbye to football on Sunday © PA Photos
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Michael Owen was another player to bow out on Sunday, and the former England international was amazed by the reception he received from the Stoke fans. "I have hardly contributed for Stoke and for them to chant my name, was something else," Owen told BBC Sport. "I want to thank the Stoke and Southampton fans."

Boss Tony Pulis paid tribute to the retiring striker, saying: "He has had a wonderful career and has been a top professional for this country."

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup felt his side could have ended the season better after a 3-0 defeat at home to Fulham. "Everyone here says it is the best season ever for this club. I have only been here ten or 11 months so I will I trust their judgement," the Dane said.

Martin Jol was delighted to see Fulham take the three points. "It's a fantastic day for us and the club and now we have to plan for next season," he said.

West Brom manager Steve Clarke feels it was a great feat for his side to come from 5-2 behind to draw 5-5 with champions United. "For a club of our size and the money we've spent, and the budget we've got, and the size of the stadium, it's a fantastic achievement for this group of players," Clarke told Sky Sports.

Michael Carrick, captain for United in Ferguson's last game in charge, said: "We've thanked Sir Alex for everything he's done and he's thanked us. We're ready to move on."

Sam Allardyce has revealed West Ham are in talks with Liverpool over the signing of on-loan striker Andy Carroll. "There's negotiation between the club and Liverpool," he said after the Hammers' 4-2 win over Reading. "It is our target to try and make it a permanent situation."

Reading manager Nigel Adkins feels the side are in good spirits as they prepare to return to the Championship. "There is a good feel-good factor going forward for next season, which is important," he said.

Roberto Martinez refused to say anything about his future at FA Cup winners and relegated Wigan. "That's not the important thing," he said. "We'll sit down with the chairman and decide what's best for Wigan."

Paul Lambert insists he made the right call to pick Christian Benteke over Darren Bent as the main man for Aston Villa - who drew 2-2 with Wigan, with Bent scoring in a rare start.

"I started looking at the squad, what system was going to suit, and ended up playing one guy up front - and the best one for that was Christian Benteke. And seeing his form, you can see why," he said.

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