Benitez asks for 'fantastic atmosphere' & claims interim tag does not matter

The former Liverpool boss attempts to diffuse the increasingly sour situation at Stamford Bridge, calling for supporters to get behind him and the team following Wednesday's rant
By Husmukh Kerai at Cobham

Rafael Benitez has called for Chelsea fans to create a 'fantastic atmosphere' ahead of Saturday's game against West Brom, despite his outburst on Wednesday.

The Spaniard had told supporters "not to waste their time" making banners or singing songs about him, and called for them to "take responsibility" for the team's current league position.

And with a sour reception expected when he emerges from the tunnel at Stamford Bridge for the Premier League clash, the former Liverpool boss has moved to diffuse the situation.

"I've been training and coaching for 26 years and always I have had principles," he told reporters. "Respect and education is the way I have achieved what I have achieved. I would like to see a fantastic atmosphere with everyone supporting the team, I will be pleased with that.

"I am part of the team, I need their support. I will do my best until the last day. This is the way I was taught at Real Madrid."

Another target of Benitez's ire on Wednesday was that he had only been given the role of 'interim' manager, something he claimed was a mistake.

But he has performed a U-turn on his complaints and insisted that he does not mind about his title.

"In my head I am the manager and I have to manage the team. The title doesn't matter, if you win the Champions League that is a 'title' but I always concentrate on my job. It's fine, it's okay."

Benitez also claimed that he has no problems with any senior figures at the club, or the players, after rumours that he would be fired following his fiery interview on Wednesday.

"I could read that I have problems with [Michael] Emenalo, with the board. Yesterday I was talking to him, he was saying it is cold and you are training in shorts. We had a conversation and we were talking about football. I have experience doing things with respect and dedication. I keep my passion. My ambition is to win two trophies.

"The message is clear, I didn't have any problems with the board, I didn't have any problems with Emenalo, I didn't have any problems with Roman Abramovich.

"If you analyse carefully what I said, I was trying to explain that we have 11 games to play, that means 33 points. If we stick together behind the team it will be easy for us to get points.

"I'm trying to explain that if we stay behind the team all together then the players will perform better. Everyone will be happy at the end of the season. I have three months on my contract now.

"If you remember some games, I think that the fans are really important for the team. If you remember the atmosphere against Napoli or this year against Arsenal, it's a big difference when you have everybody behind the team pushing and pushing.

"I am really pleased with the performance of the players against Middlesbrough, really pleased with their reaction in training. I am very positive that we can get a result and finish in the top three, top two. We will see, that is my feeling.

"Realistically, [finishing second] is not easy, Manchester City are a good team, it will be a difficult. Top three, top four, two titles - that is the target."

And when questioned about his relationship with John Terry, Benitez was in defiant mood.

"It's fine. He's the captain. He is just another player in this squad. My relationship is similar with other players."