Rafa Benitez hits out at Chelsea over 'interim' tag and slams club's supporters
Rafa Benitez has remarkably hit out at Chelsea for referring to him as 'interim' manager.
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey
Last Updated: 28/02/13 10:48am
In an astonishing outburst, speaking after the Blues' 2-0 FA Cup win over Middlesbrough, Benitez turned on the section of fans who continue to vent their frustration at the Spaniard.
Benitez revealed that he knew nothing about being appointed as interim boss and felt that was a mistake by the Premier League club.
"I have a title, someone decided the title would be interim. Why? Just in case," he said.
"OK fine, if they want to blame me for everything that is wrong and then they said they would put interim just in case. Fine, that is your decision, I don't agree but that is your decision, and now everybody has to take responsibility.
"If we are in the Champions League I will be the happiest man in the world but the next year I would leave anyway because I finish my contract so they don't need to worry about me. They have to concentrate on supporting the team.
"I have a contract until the end of the season, that's it, so they don't need to worry about me.
"It was surprise for me, [the title] interim. I have a contract to the end of the season, I said before I have to do my job, that's it but this group with [their] agenda they carry on and I think it is wrong because it is bad for the team.
"Someone decided and I think that was mistake. It's very clear, I don't know who, but it was mistake.
"Everybody is interim, because after you there is another one. In this case they didn't have anyone so why did they put interim? It's just to say to everyone that he was in Liverpool and then just in case we will put interim and then we wash our hands.
"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 per cent 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.
"I think the reason why the group of fans is not happy is because I was Liverpool manager, we played in the Champions League, massive games, that's it. You cannot change that, they were really good, we were really good, it was a confrontation at this stage.
"Now I am the manager, and a professional. I want to clarify I will do my best until the last minute but if they carry on with this agenda they are damaging the club and the team and next year if we cannot achieve the top four, they have to take a bit of responsibility.
"I didn't know about the title, I have an agent and I was surprised but they couldn't change things because they announced that. I thought it was a mistake but I still couldn't change the interim [title]."
Benitez insists that the fans are not showing him the respect he is due, with many supporters showing their displeasure after he was brought in to replace Roberto Di Matteo.
"I have been in charge in football for 26 years, I won the Champions League, I won the FIFA World Club Cup, the FA Cup, the Italian Super Cup, the Spanish league twice, nine trophies - all the trophies you can win at club level so this group of fans are not making any favourites with the team and they are singing and wasting time preparing banners," he said.
"And it is because someone made a mistake - they put my title interim manager, and I will leave at the end of the season so they don't need to waste their time with me, they have to concentrate on supporting the team, that is what they have to do. Every game if they continue singing and they continue preparing banners, they are wasting time.
"What they have to do is support the team, if we cannot achieve what we expect to achieve which is to be in the top four and Champions League for next year, I will leave and they will stay in the Europa League and they have to take responsibility too. If they put players under pressure or they did not create a good atmosphere in Stamford Bridge they are making a big mistake as the rest of the fans would like to see them in the Champions League next year.
"So it would be much better for everyone to support the team and back the players, I am the manager and will manage the team, I like to manage players and not names, and I will make decisions and at the end of the season I will leave anyway as I am interim, as they say, they are wasting time.
"I have proved in these last months I want to win every single game, I am professional and if we win I will be the happiest in the world but if a group of fans continue with their agenda and wasting time it is their decision.
"I am really pleased here, I have a top side and a good group of players who work hard and it is a top club, it is not a problem - the problem is a group of people who can say what they want but they have to support the team and they don't need to worry about me as I will leave at the end of the season. I will do my job and try and win every game until the last minute.
"It is a team in transition - in the past you had Drogba, Essien, Kalou - a talented team with experience and now we have a group with talent but it is a time of transition, they need to realise that when I came here the team was not in the Champions League and will do my best until the last minute. They are damaging the image of the club and the other fans because people think that is all the fans.
"I will do my job and I will try to do my best. It will be easier at Stamford Bridge and have the fans supporting the team instead of thinking of what can we do, what can we say."
Asked how long he would be in charge, Benitez insisted as far as he knew it would be June, when his deal runs out.
"I will be manager until the last minute when somebody decides no, you won't be here in June," he continued.
"I will do my job, no problem, to manage is to decide the team, the subs and everything until the end. I did it for 26 years with nine titles and a lot of trophies in different countries, so I think I have enough experience. So if they want to sing and prepare banners, they have to take responsibility too.
"They have to decide what they want to do. What I've said is what I've done in my life as a professional and what I want to do in the future, hopefully win trophies too.
"A group of fans have an agenda. I will do my job until the last day, and after I will be really pleased if we can win trophies or be in the top four, three, two. I will do my job until the end."