Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Barclays Premier League

Bridge over troubled waters for Rafa



The snarling tiger of Wednesday looked like the cat who got the cream on Saturday as Rafael Benitez purred with delight about his Chelsea team and the fans after a 1-0 home win over West Bromwich Albion.

The interim manager produced an extraordinary outburst following the 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round win at second tier Middlesbrough in midweek, criticising the supporters who have barracked him relentlessly since he took charge in November.

All that was forgotten by the Spaniard on Saturday after a first-half goal from Demba Ba helped Chelsea climb to third in the Premier League, one point ahead of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur who host north London neighbours Arsenal on Sunday.

"I'm really pleased the fans were behind the team today ... because the players played with more confidence," a smiling Benitez told reporters at Stamford Bridge.

"The atmosphere was very good and I think it was clear that was very, very positive."

The Spaniard hit out at a section of the fans 72 hours earlier, saying they were wasting their time singing songs and waving banners against him.

Benitez's broadside prompted an angry reaction from the Chelsea supporters on radio phone-ins and internet chat rooms and everyone expected the interim manager to be given a hostile reception against West Brom.

The odd critical banner was visible, one calling Benitez 'The Interim One' in a reference to crowd favourite Jose Mourinho, the self-styled 'Special One' who led Chelsea to back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006 and is now in charge of Real Madrid.

Another banner said of Benitez, 'We don't want him and we never wanted him'.

There was also the occasional cry for Mourinho, some isolated booing and the almost obligatory chants for Roberto Di Matteo in the 16th minute, a reference to the shirt number Benitez's managerial predecessor wore during his time as a Chelsea player.

Other than that though the crowd were mainly subdued.

Benitez was bombarded with media questions about his Wednesday tirade, when he also hit out at the board for giving him the title 'interim', but he preferred to focus on the victory over West Brom.

"I'm really pleased with the team - today it was a great performance," he said. "For 75 minutes we were in control with good play and good passing and we created opportunities.

"The man of the match was their goalkeeper (Ben Foster), he was really good. We played very good football and the atmosphere was good (in the stadium)," added Benitez.

"We created opportunities to score more goals and to kill the game. We didn't do it but still we were defending well and kept a clean sheet."

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R152.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
FIFA 14
Xbox 360
R549.00
Mitre Ultimatch Soccer Ball - White
A high quality football, offering high performance at both training and during football matches.
R252.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Fri, 18 Apr @ 05:00
Sun, 20 Apr @ 17:00
Sun, 20 Apr @ 20:50

Sports Talk



Dr Errol Sweeney
Professional referees - is that the answer?
It seems this question has been around for a long time. In fact, I remember being asked it way back...

Iwedi Ojinmah
For Nigeria the noise will come
One just has to look at a map of Africa and South America to understand the special relationship...

Neil Tovey
Climbing the pyramid of success
The fact that an Al Ahly official said the club “have started negotiations with Oupa Manyisa”...

Segun Odegbami
Nigeria to win the 2014 World Cup!
If you were a betting man, who would you put your money on to win the 2014 World Cup? Or better...

Carol Radull
Respect your coaches please
I’m a little sick in the pit of my stomach over how Kenyan Premier Clubs are treating their coaches.

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Liverpool staying the course
In an incredible atmosphere at Anfield, Liverpool kept up their relentless pursuit of Liverpool’s...