Benitez: 'I am lucky to be boss of talented Blues'

Ben Rumsby

RAFAEL BENITEZ has admitted he is "lucky" to be managing Chelsea.

Old foe Alex Ferguson used precisely that word to describe Benitez upon the Spaniard's appointment to the Stamford Bridge hot seat.

Benitez has been at pains not to be drawn into another war of words with his Manchester United counterpart since his two-year break from management came to an end.

So although he appeared to disagree he was "lucky" in the sense Ferguson intended, he acknowledged his good fortune at ending up at the European champions.

"I'm lucky to be here with a top side," he said. "It's the club I want to be at at the moment. I'd had a lot of offers, but I prefer to be here."

How long Benitez lasts working under an owner notorious for sacking managers will depend on how quickly the unparalleled demands of the job begin to take their toll.

The 52-year-old faces an uphill struggle thanks to a supporter revolt, something that could hurt his bid to produce the victories that are the primary safeguard against Roman Abramovich's axe.

Even winning has not proven enough, with Abramovich said to want to see his team play like 'Barcelona in blue shirts'.


The Russian spent £80m this summer with that in mind and although Chelsea are anything but that after two wins in nine, Benitez insisted it was not an impossible dream.

But, he added ahead of tonight's west London derby with Fulham: "Roman says he wants to see the team playing well but not with the Barcelona style.

"He knows we don't have (Lionel) Messi, Xavi (Hernandez), (Andres) Iniesta, players who have been working together for years. We have different players.

"I think we can play attacking and defensive football together.

"We have players with talent in attack. We have to give the ball to them to create.

"That's our main issue, how do we link with them and give them the freedom to perform and do well."