Rafael Benitez starts his new job more hungry for success than ever before he has told the media at the end of his first day at work at Chelsea.
The Spaniard begins life here just a month short of two years since he left his previous managerial role at Inter in Italy. He confirmed he has since had many offers of three or four-year contracts across Europe but he was biding his time for a club where he believes he can have repeated silverware success, which is why he accepted an interim role at Stamford Bridge until the end of the season.
‘This is a massive club that allows me to fight for trophies,’ Benitez declared.
‘When you have an opportunity like this you have to take it. I will try to win from day one. In seven months we can win some trophies and I am sure that everyone will be delighted.
‘What happens in the future nobody knows, we have a massive game at the weekend and when you analyse why you go to a top club like this for seven months it is because you have the chance to win trophies. For a year and a half, maybe two years, I was waiting for the right opportunity. I have this chance now and I will try to do my best.
‘Since leaving Inter I have been analysing games and players, watching games every weekend so I have not been out of the game. My mentality, my passion, my forward thinking about the game is there and I have lost nothing. I think it is the opposite. I have more hunger, more desire to win trophies than before.’
Benitez also spoke about some of his words in the past that might not have gone down well with Chelsea fans at the time of big matches against Liverpool, and emphasised the point that he and his new club’s supporters share the same aim – to taste victory.
‘I like to do things in the right way for the fans because at the end of the day it will be good for me,’ said the 52-year-old.
‘I am sure they will be happy with a manager who has this winning mentality, this passion for the game, and will do everything he can to win games. I can understand that it is not easy at the beginning, people can have doubts, but in the end I think they will be pleased.
‘In the past I was playing against Chelsea, a top side, in the semi-finals of the Champions League and if I am a fan I like to see my manager fight for my team, trying to win every game and doing almost everything, so I don’t see a lack of respect for Chelsea fans, it was more a manager defending his team against another top side. I am sure they will like to see me defending my club now in the way I defended Liverpool at this time.
‘Hopefully the fans will be really pleased at the end of Sunday’s game. At the beginning, they are very clever and they will say we have to support the manager because that is the best for the team, and I think they will.’
Benitez said that although he is prepared to sit down with the club and discuss possible new signings if necessary, he understands his role to be mostly getting the best out of the existing squad. The style of play will be his decision.
‘I have spoken mainly with [technical director] Michael Emenalo and he has explained to me what the club want and expect. When you have experience at this level, it is very easy to know what is expected of you and that is to win games, try to do it playing well and win trophies.
‘Talking with Michael, he didn’t say you have to do this and you have to do that, he said they are behind me because they trust me, think I can do well, that we have a good team and he thinks I can do well with these players. The principle object is I have to win games.
‘Today I spoke to the players and everything was fine – the intensity was there and I spoke to them about ideas and I saw no problems.
‘I know everybody will be talking about Fernando Torres and today I was talking with him like I was talking with the other players and his attitude was good.
‘Everybody has been talking about he was not doing well and I was the same because I was watching games and his attitude was really poor, and today it was the same as all the others.
‘The players have trained really well and I am sure that with this attitude, they will improve and I think that with the players and staff together, we can win important things for the club.’