Talking Sport: Terrible start - but Benitez may yet be the man for Chelsea

Rafa Benitez has his work cut out at Stamford Bridge
Rafa Benitez has his work cut out at Stamford Bridge

ROBERTO DI MATTEO’S reign at Chelsea Football Club came to an abrupt end as he has become another victim of Roman Abromovich’s unrealistic ambitions, writes Josh Harrison.

The Champions League is the trophy Abromovich had craved for so many years, but the man who finally delivered Chelsea’s first European Cup has brutally discovered that the Russian owner always wants more.

Even by Abromovich’s standards this sacking feels ridiculously harsh and unjustified, but the warning signs were there for Di Matteo even after winning the Champions league and FA cup last season.

Most grateful owners would have met Di Matteo with a plea to instantly sign a new contract, but instead, even though Bayern were beaten on May 19, it was June 13 before the Italian was finally given a two-year contract as reward for his work since succeeding another of Abramovich’s managerial victims, Andre Villas-Boas.

It was the most obvious indication that, for all Di Matteo’s brilliant work in healing the wounds of the brief Villas-Boas era, he was merely a stop-gap until Abramovich could engineer the appointment of a manager able to provide the Barcelona style of football he has dreamed of for years.

The burden of keeping Chelsea’s Premier League hopes alive has now fallen to ex-Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, and fans have made no effort to hide their disgust at this decision.

Their criticism of the new man has been heightened by the team taking just two points and scoring only one goal in his first three games.

Chelsea fans haven’t forgotten the comments Benitez made about them during his time at Liverpool, as he suggested they were mainly plastic fans.

Football fans never forget and let the new boss know how unwelcome he was when he stepped onto the pitch for his first game against Manchester City, but the new boss has shrugged of the boos, claiming he will silence his critics with wins.

Benitez has a lot of work to do to win over fans and keep Abromovic happy, but with title and Champions League winning experience, it’s not impossible yet that he might be the man to get Chelsea’s season back on track.

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