Rafael Benitez probably got the worst reception ever by any football managers in Premier League history. Even Roy Hodgson, who didn’t get the best of support from the Liverpool fans, wasn’t jeered and booed on his first match day at Anfield. Benitez was booed. Benitez was jeered. Benitez was made known that there is no affection for him at all from the Chelsea fans. The relation is restricted to professional boundaries only.
For a while, take those ill feelings out from your mind. Think it from a footballing perspective – would Chelsea have got a better manager than him after the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo? Now, whether the sacking of Di Matteo was a right decision is a matter of great debate, which is useless to regurgitate here. Chelsea have got a very fine manager who is well capable of taking the club forward and challenge for honours. Everyone should back him now in the best possible way.
Probably, he is the best man around who can bring the best out of Fernando Torres. The £50m striker was becoming a conundrum and headache for all his previous managers. Neither Andre Villas-Boas nor Di Matteo could find any way of extracting the best out of him. But, maybe Benitez can. He has worked with him in the past; he made Torres a world class striker and possibly has the medicine with him to cure the under performing striker. The signs are already evident – Torres has scored four goals in his last two games.
Benitez’s footballing philosophy has always been to develop the game from the back. During his time at Valencia and at Liverpool, he always emphasized at building a solid foundation at the back. Chelsea often struggled to maintain that with or without their skipper John Terry. The defensive organisation is bound to improve under his tutelage.
David Luiz, the Brazilian defender could be given a new role at the club. In absence of a proper midfield enforcer at the club, Luiz, whose defensive abilities are always a suspect could be given the job of a holding midfielder. Well, many feel that he would excel in that role because of his natural tendency to attack more with the ball. The player himself is confident too. However, defensive midfield is a very specialized position and we have to see whether Luiz has that technical ability in him to adjust to his new role or not.
Rafa, despite his strong authoritarian nature has never allowed dressing harmony to be disrupted. It has proved tough for several managers here at Chelsea to retain a semblance of control over a bunch of inflated and over indulged egos. The seniors at the club feel they have a carte blanche to indulge into power struggle. Benitez will not allow that in his reign.
And last but not the least the Spaniard has the backing of the owner. Di Matteo was highly successful with Chelsea but he hardly found his proper feet at the club in terms of managerial role. And when your boss backs you up, the tasks become quite easy.