‘I have been in four big clubs in England but the only one where I haven’t really been able to show what I can do is Chelsea,’ says Yossi Benayoun.
‘That is because I got an Achilles injury and then I went on loan.’
On Wednesday night at Reading, the Israel international midfielder made his first appearance for Chelsea since the opening game of last season. It was his 12th game for the club in total.
His first season was interrupted by a five-and-a-half-month lay-off with the injury to which he refers. The next season was spent on loan at Arsenal and the first half of this campaign was in the capital too – at one of his previous clubs, West Ham.
‘I signed on loan with West Ham only to the first of January, with an option to continue, but I got injured in November,’ the 32-year-old says.
‘I did my best to come back and I started to train slowly here at Chelsea. We decided I would stay here and try to help when I can and be part of the squad, and I am happy to be here.
‘Hopefully now there is the chance for me. It is a big squad, a lot of quality, but I will do my best and hopefully it will be enough.
‘My fitness is much better now. I trained a few weeks with the team and the first time I played was in the last game for 15 minutes. Slowly I will feel the fitness come and I will feel much better.’
Benayoun is in the squad lists submitted for both the rest of the Barclays Premier League season and for the Europa League. When he had the opportunity out on loan, he showed he still could influence top-level contests.
‘The injury at West Ham came at a bad moment because I had played a few good games there and we had good results. Also with Arsenal I had a great time for one year, I scored a few important goals and we finished third and I played in the Champions League.
‘I enjoyed quite a lot the loan spells but now I will try to enjoy and do my best in this four months with Chelsea, when needed.’
He moved to Stamford Bridge in 2010 after three seasons at Liverpool, which means he needed no introduction to Rafael Benitez and his working methods on his return to Chelsea.
‘Rafa always puts out an organised team, they know what he wants and he brings his ideas and tactics to the team,’ he reports.
‘It is not an easy situation for everyone, to come in the middle of the season, but I do believe there are the right players now for this team to fight for the trophies that are left and to do our best, and I am sure Rafa will bring 100 per cent out of everyone.
‘We enjoy the training, we work hard and we love it but the most important are the results, and if we win games, everything will be much better.’