The interim manager reflected on a job well done after beating Everton to finish third in the Premier League but gave no clues as to his future beyond Stamford Bridge.LONDON -- Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez reflected on a job well done after bowing out of his tenure having secured a third-place Premier League finish by beating Everton 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Fernando Torres scored the winner to cap off a fine week for the former Liverpool boss, with the Europa League already secured on Wednesday.
The Spaniard was cool about his achievements at Chelsea, keen to focus more on the final-day victory and on the professional nature of the squad over which he presided, while again asserting that his successor will inherit a squad capable of challenging for the title next year.
"I'm happy," he told reporters. "It was a very open game, especially in the first half. You could see at the beginning of the second half we were pushing on top of them and creating chances. When we scored our goal, they were pushing with [Marouane] Fellaini higher up the pitch and we had some problems but in the end the main thing is that we won and everybody was happy.
"We have a top side challenging for trophies and playing two games a week - not too much time to go on holiday, it’s just coach then play another game. We took a team that was in transition with young players and now we have left a good team with more experience, character, scoring goals, more balance.
"I think it will be good for the next manager as he will have a very good team and also the owner will bring in more players so this team will be challenging for the title this year. I think for anyone managing here it is a great experience. You have to manage carefully as it's a top side and you have to win almost every game. It's important to keep calm and have an idea about what you are trying to do."
With his name being linked to a host of new clubs, Benitez gave no indication of where he may be managing next season, aside from dismissing any suggestion that he may replace his outgoing counterpart, David Moyes.
"I don't think Everton will be the option," he added. "I have a lot of respect for them but I don't think they will be the option. I have to wait. When you finish the season a lot of teams are looking for different options so we will see."
Moyes's future is decidedly more concrete, with the Scot set to replace Manchester United's retiring Sir Alex Ferguson next season, and he was reflective after the defeat, taking a similarly congratulatory tone to sum up a successful 11 years at the club.
"I thought it was a really good game and that we played excellent," said the Toffees boss. "Everton have had a great season. The players have had a great season, near enough, from the first day to the last. We've competed and been very close so I've got to say congratulations. It's difficult to sum up in a couple words but I'd have to say that I'm grateful for being given the opportunity and thankful that the chairman gave me that chance.
"I hope that I'm leaving the club in a better condition than when I took over. They've got a real chance, they're good players. I think they deserve a lot of credit. I'm sad I'm leaving Everton."