Rafael Benitez saw plenty that can built upon and also clear areas for improvement after his first game in charge of the Chelsea team.
The 0-0 draw against the league champions was a first clean sheet performance in 11 games but the Blues managed only one shot on target against Roberto Mancini’s men. Benitez also spoke about an unfavourable reception he received from some of the Stamford Bridge support and the way ahead in his relationship with the fans. But first the Spaniard addressed the game in general.
‘The team was working very hard, all of them together, and we didn’t make too many mistakes in situations in the past when they maybe lost a little concentration,’ noted Benitez.
‘We had some problems with Man City counter-attacks but the second half was much better. The defenders were solid and the full-backs were attacking but we didn’t link with the players in the second [midfield] line as much as I was expecting. That is something we have to improve and then we will create chances because they have the quality.
‘The team had lost a little confidence but they have a clean sheet after so many games and we have some positives. We are not 100 per cent satisfied because we want to win but there are not many better teams than Man City in the Premier League.’
On the display by Fernando Torres who returned to the side…
‘Fernando was trying very hard, he had a good chance but the team has to help Fernando, all of us have to help Fernando because if we create more chances he will score goals. You cannot expect a striker scoring all on his own and we have to create more and better chances for Fernando and all the offensive players.
‘I am not trying to build a team around Fernando, I am trying to build a team around a striker, a second striker and the wingers, and Fernando is the striker at the moment so we create for him. If it is Daniel Sturridge or Victor Moses, we will do it for them.
‘I am not happy if we have just one shot on-target but the main thing is you have more chances and then you are close.’
On the reason why Branislav Ivanovic rather than Gary Cahill played in central defence and whether Frank Lampard, Daniel Sturridge or John Terry might return for the Fulham game midweek…
Cahill had a bit of fever. He will hopefully be okay in one or two days. The others, they will take a little more.
On the crowd reception…
‘I was just concentrating on the game, the performance of the players on the pitch and what I could do. I can understand it because of the rivalry in the past but I am sure the majority of the fans they understand I am a professional, I want to do my best for the club and I want to win.
‘The fans are with the team and hopefully they will be with me in the next games because I will do a professional job and try to win.
‘The main thing is the players are focused on the games and because I have confidence that we will do well and win games, I think some of the fans will realise it is not the way to support your team. If I do my job properly and we are winning, I am sure they will be there.
‘How do I change the perception? By working hard, doing my best and winning games.’