Chelsea FC – Rafa Benitez & Fan War Hurting the Players

It’s hard to say it’s just a very small and vocal minority that’s against Rafa Benitez since he became the manager of Chelsea, but it’s also hard to believe fans want their team to lose if it means a change of personnel at the managerial position coming sooner than expected.

His contract ends when the season ends, and Benitez himself has said that he doesn’t wish to remain with the team. Because of the fans and because of the board, who seem to think the worst of the men running the club on day-to-day basis. There’s always the argument about how really important a manager/head coach is. When everything is decided by Roman Abramovich and his “puppets” as some call them, why does it really matter to have a big name on the sidelines?

But there’s a different side to everything going on against Benitez, who seemed to be hitting his lowest point in the FA Cup match against Manchester United, as red fans, boosted by their own manager who has done nothing but show disrespect to a colleague, continuing his & his club’s bullish ways of handling people who challenge their ways, joined forced with Chelsea fans in taunts against the man “who doesn’t know what he’s doing” or is “just a fat Spanish waiter.”

Rafa Benitez made some neat changes in the second half, but the success of those were countered by his usual opposition, saying that he simply used the lineup that worked so well for Roberto Di Matteo at the beginning of the season. Maybe they’re right, but it still worked. Manchester United and Alex Ferguson didn’t make the adequate reply, with Ferguson later using the fatigue excuse – funny when it’s coming against a team that has played more matches than anyone else this season.

Tactical prowess aside, sometimes it seems that the players are taking the worst of it. You can’t turn against your own fans, or it means the end of your easy days with the club. So the players remain relatively silent while the manager, which they lose respect for as the results don’t come and the pressure mounts, takes all the heat for their poor performances.

Sometimes it doesn’t help when the fans are not happy. When you give the ball away there is pressure. This is our job. Fans come to watch the football and we have a responsibility to pay them back and make sure we play well. Every game we try to do that, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I have been here for seven years and they are fantastic and have always supported us until the end. I hope that continues throughout the season. This is when we need them the most. Let’s hope we can all go through the rest of the season together. Chelsea fans have always been great and I know they will continue to be great with the players.

John Obi Mikel might be the most important player Chelsea have, but injuries and the ACN have kept him away a bit too much, leaving a big hole in the middle of the field. Not that he’s a world class DM/CM player, but compared with the other options Chelsea have, including Frank Lampard who might score goals by is a tactical mess when it comes to playing in a more retreated role than in the past, he’s almost a god.

Mikel knows the protest against Benitez is hurting, wounding Chelsea badly, but can’t do much about it. A little scold, followed by a pat on the shoulder. The players can’t take sides, or they’ll be the next to be protested against. When an owner makes everyone around him look smaller than a thimble, it’s no surprise that his money is the only thing eventually being respected.

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