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Rafa sets his sights on club in Euro elite

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Rafael Benitez Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Rafael Benitez Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Rafael Benitez Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Rafael Benitez has set his sights on managing in the Champions League next term after bringing his stint as Chelsea interim manager to a close with a second post-season tour defeat by Manchester City on Saturday night.

The Spaniard guided Chelsea to Europa League glory and also helped them qualify for next season's Champions League after being brought in last November. Asked about his plans and a link to Napoli following Chelsea's 5-3 defeat by City in New York, Benitez (pictured) said: "I am going to London now. I want to be in a top side so that we can play in the Champions League, if that is possible."

Benitez faced hostility from many Chelsea fans when he took over following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo but was pleased to have delivered success to Stamford Bridge.

"I think it was a good challenge and I enjoyed it at the end. We won a trophy, (we reached) some semi-finals, a final and finished in the top three so I am really pleased because a lot of people at the start, people around players, they were pushing and pushing."

Benitez believes he won over the majority of Chelsea supporters in his time at Stamford Bridge.

"A lot of fans supported me in the end. Maybe some of them couldn't change their minds.

Benitez's one regret is he will not be able to continue working with Chelsea's rising stars.

He added: "When you have some good players growing and improving you like to stay with them. (But) I am really pleased because the job is done."


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