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Rafa Benitez wants to prove point through Chelsea job

Reuters
Nov 23, 2012 at 09:39am IST

London: Chelsea's interim manager Rafael Benitez said the challenge of trying to win five trophies this season was too great an opportunity to turn down as he returned to the Premier League on Thursday.

The 52-year-old Spaniard, who left Liverpool at the end of the 2009-10 season and has replaced Roberto Di Matteo at Stamford Bridge, told a packed news conference he was unconcerned about any notion of a short-team deal at the west London club.

"I don't care about the short term, we have five trophies to fight for," Benitez said after being photographed on the podium with Chelsea's blue shirt, a slightly surreal sight as he was so associated with Liverpool's red one in England.

Benitez wants to prove point through Chelsea job

The new manager at Stamford bridge said the challenge of trying to win five trophies this season was too great an opportunity to turn down.

"The only thing that matters is that you win matches and then you can win trophies and then we will see what happens. In football, and in life, you never know what may happen."

As well as the Premier League, the European champions are still involved in the Champions League - although they face elimination in the group stage.

They are also in the League Cup with their defence of the FA Cup starting in January, a month after they take part in FIFA's Club World Cup in Japan.

Di Matteo was sacked on Wednesday following Chelsea's 3-0 Champions League defeat by Juventus and just six months after taking the team to the title.

MASSIVE GAME

Asked how he felt at being perceived as a stop-gap until Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich attempts to appoint former coach Pep Guardiola, currently on a sabbatical, Benitez said he was not concerned.

"I have a very good relationship with Pep, he is a great man and a great manager, but what will happen in the future you never know. All I know is that we have a massive game at the weekend against Manchester City and five trophies to fight for.

"When you analyse why you go to a club for seven months, when you wait for the right opportunity to come after 18 months, two years, you go to a club that can win matches and win trophies."

Benitez has asked former Chelsea and Liverpool player Boudewijn Zenden to be his assistant at Stamford Bridge.

"He was a great player for me at Liverpool and spent three years here, so he knows the place, and that is very important," said the Spaniard.

Benitez, who took Liverpool to the Champions League title in 2005 is Abramovich's ninth appointment since the Russian bought buying the club in 2003 but has yet to meet the owner.

"I met the players, everything was good they were training well. My agent spoke to the owner, so I might meet him later today," said Benitez who will take his first training session on Friday as the team prepare for the home match against English champions Manchester City.

"I know what he wants. He wants to win matches and trophies."

INTENSE RIVALRY

Chelsea made an excellent start to the season but have won only two of their last eight matches, struggling in front of goal, where Fernando Torres, who cost 50.0 million pounds when he was signed from Liverpool in January 2011, has consistently failed to reproduce his previous scoring form.

Asked if he could bring Torres back to his old lethal self in front of goal, Benitez just said: "I spoke to him with all the other players today and his attitude was really good."

An intense rivalry that developed between Chelsea and Liverpool when Benitez was at Anfield and many Chelsea fans have expressed their regret at the appointment.

They also reminded anyone reading social media sites that Benitez once said Chelsea was one club he would never manage.

Explaining that comment he said: "We were playing against a top team, Chelsea, in the semi-finals of the Champions League and as the manager of the other team you do everything you can to win the game and give your team an advantage. But now I am here because I want to be here.

"I am sure the fans will be happy when we start winning games again."

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