Benitez happy with Chelsea tenure despite lack of send-off

Despite leading the club to Europa League glory and a third-placed finish in the Premier League, the Spaniard did not take part in the traditional end-of-season lap of honour
Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez says he leaves the club pleased with his successes at Stamford Bridge, and feels the players recognised the good work he achieved.

The former Liverpool manager, who had a turbulent relationship with the London club during his time on Merseyside, was not a popular figure amongst the fans when he arrived following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo.

But, despite the protests, the Spaniard was able to stabilise the club and finish third in the Premier League, all whilst leading the team to Europa League glory, but did not take part in the traditional end-of-season lap of honour.

11/4 Chelsea are 11/4 with BetVictor to win the Premier League next season
On the celebrations, Benitez explained: "It was for the players and the families. I received a lot of messages on my website, more than 200, saying 'thank you very much', people appreciating what we were trying to do.

"I think the fans have changed. After the Middlesbrough press conference [where he accused supporters of an an "agenda" against him], you could see a lot more support for the team. You could feel more support for the team.

"In my opinion the majority of them were very positive in the end, which is good. And I think I changed the opinion of some of them. We tried to do our best."

Captain John Terry and midfielder Frank Lampard took to the microphone to thank the fans, but it was David Luiz who explicitly mentioned Benitez: "We want to say 'thank you' to him [Benitez] because he was an amazing coach for the team and for me personally."

"I learnt a lot from him. People said bad things about him but not many coaches can do what he does. Next year’s coach will change but the mentality needs to be the same."

In the end the 53-year-old, who awaits a fresh challenge next season, says many of the squad thanked him privately for his time at the club.

"A lot of them said things to me," he added. "It is one thing what you say in public, in a press conference but they were telling me privately, I’m really pleased with that."