Blogs & Opinion


Ray Wilkins:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

Rough start for Rafa

Ray Wilkins - Ray Wilkins Posted 25th November 2012 view comments

Ray Wilkins says Rafa Benitez faces a difficult task if he is to win over the Chelsea boo boys.

The new manager was jeered by a number of Stamford Bridge supporters ahead of the Super Sunday clash with Manchester City after replacing the popular Roberto Di Matteo this week.

Benitez, who made disparaging remarks about the atmosphere at Chelsea during his time in charge at Liverpool, claimed afterwards that he did not hear the critics when his name was announced ahead of the game.

Benitez: booed by home fans before kick-off

Benitez: booed by home fans before kick-off

But Sky Sports expert Wilkins says the incident will have hurt the Spaniard and he needs to pick up results quickly if he is to improve the situation.

"He wouldn't have enjoyed that at all," he said.

"He would have heard that. You are focused on what's about to happen but when there's a lot of people booing you it's not very pleasant.

"I feel for him a touch because he's been employed; he wasn't asking for the job, they've employed Rafa.

"Now they need to give him the opportunity and the only way he will turn that around is by winning games of football."

Impact

Benitez's first game ended in a goalless draw and Wilkins said the new manager had clearly had an impact on some of the Chelsea defenders, in particular David Luiz.

But while they recorded their first clean sheet in 10 games, he does not think the home fans will be happy with their lack of invention in front of goal.

"I thought it was a difficult game for him," he said.

"They haven't kept too many clean sheets and that's important, but on the other hand it's the first time they haven't scored at home this year.

"We talk about balance and one shot on target from Chelsea at home is unacceptable really with the quality they've got.

"But we saw today David Luiz, who I've been critical of on numerous occasions, didn't leave the defensive area too much and was in the back four more often than not.

"I think Rafa's obviously decided he was going to have a little chat with David and said ' initially you are a centre-half, give us what you give defensively and if the opportunity arises when we're 6-0 up then by all means go forward'".

Wilkins suspects Benitez asked Juan Mata to play as a more traditional winger against City, to give the team a bit more structure.

But while that helped the shape of the team, he felt it restricted the impact that the Spanish playmaker could have going forward.

"He changed it slightly with Mata playing on the right-hand side," Wilkins added.

"I've seen him play on numerous occasions and he's been outstanding this year. When he comes in off the line he's dynamic; he can make things happen and create chances.

"If he's playing too far wide, it's okay if you lose possession of the ball because you've got players in the right areas, but this is about Chelsea Football Club, who play with a little bit of flamboyance.

"For me, he played far too right. They inter-changed a little bit, but he was far too right."

NullData

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Gary Neville

Neville - Step back for City

Gary Neville says Manchester City must learn to see games out if they are to win the Champions League....

Ed Chamberlin

Ed: City can make statement

Ed Chamberlin can't wait for Man City-Chelsea on Super Sunday and gives his early Ryder Cup tips....

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp: No need to worry

Jamie Redknapp isn't concerned after the English clubs made their worst ever Champions League start....

Latest News RSS feeds

Neville - Step back for City

Gary Neville says Manchester City must learn to see games out if they are to win the Champions League.

Costa concern for Chelsea

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says Diego Costa is not yet ready to start more than one match in a week.

Live transfer updates

Arsenal linked with Iker Casillas, while Chelsea and Liverpool said to be keen on Bayer Leverskusen's Julian Brandt.

Wenger: I missed out on Ronaldo

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says his biggest regret is missing out on signing Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Solskjaer leaves Cardiff

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has left Cardiff City by mutual consent after nine months in charge.

Features

Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa were Atletico Madrid team-mates but their routes to the top have been so different

Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa were Atletico Madrid team-mates but their routes to the top have been so different

With 64 goals between them last season, Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa are two of the game’s best strikers. Born just three months apart on opposite sides of the Argentina-Brazil border, they were even team-mates at Atletico Madrid. But the pair have taken very different routes to the top.

Champions League: Yaya Toure off the pace as Manchester City succumb to late goal against Bayern Munich

Champions League: Yaya Toure off the pace as Manchester City succumb to late goal against Bayern Munich

Vincent Kompany said earlier this week that Yaya Toure was "not far off" signing a new Manchester City deal; that's considerably closer than he got to any Bayern Munich midfielder on Wednesday night.

Who is the real Ronald Koeman? Former team-mate Rob McDonald shares his memories of the Southampton boss

Who is the real Ronald Koeman? Former team-mate Rob McDonald shares his memories of the Southampton boss

Not many Englishmen know Dutch football better than Rob McDonald. The former Newcastle United striker spent the best part of eight years in the country as a player, winning the Eredivisie title during his time in Eindhoven with a PSV team that included the genius of Ruud Gullit.