Petr Cech has said that Chelsea's players were not affected by the frosty reception the club's new interim manager, Rafael Benítez, received from supporters or by their show of support for Roberto Di Matteo during Sunday's draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
Benítez, who riled Chelsea's supporters during his six-year spell as Liverpool's manager, was booed when he was introduced to the crowd before the match, and later subjected to chants of "Fuck off Benítez, you're not wanted here", while there were also banners declaring "Rafa out".
Chelsea fans are furious that Di Matteo, who led the club to Champions League and FA Cup victories
in May, was sacked last week and their anger was exacerbated by Benítez's appointment, yet Cech believes it is up to the players to ensure the Spaniard wins over the supporters.
"I wasn't listening to the crowd much," Cech said. "When I go on the pitch I'm in my zone. We know there's a history but he's come here to improve the situation at the club, and to help. He can only do that by getting good results. Let's hope that's going to be the case.
"It's up to us. We need to have a good run of results for them to change their minds. I think the manager deserves to have a chance, as every manager has who has joined the club. It's up to us to make things happen and make the fans happy."
The chair of the Chelsea Supporters Group has said an apology from Benítez for his comments about Chelsea fans would help the situation. Benítez, while manager of Liverpool, appeared to criticise Chelsea supporters by saying they needed plastic flags to get behind their team.
"I think [an apology] would help for some fans," Trizia Fiorellino said. "Even an acceptance of what was said would be a start.
"He's said he was trying to defend his club at the time but [the then Chelsea manager José] Mourinho was the master of that and I don't think he ever directly ridiculed supporters of another club.
"It's quite a thing to try to undo but an acceptance could definitely bring some people back on board. I do think he's a tough sell, though."
Benítez is the ninth manager Chelsea have had since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 but Cech feels the players can cope with the uncertainty, while admitting they should accept part of the blame for Di Matteo's sacking.
"When you come to a situation where you change your manager it's because the situation is bad, and that everybody is to blame," he said. "Everybody is responsible for the results. As players, we feel the responsibility because we are responsible for the manager leaving. We want to put things right. We want to do the right things for the new manager.
"If the team is performing nothing happens to the manager. So everybody knows that the last few results were not good. Unfortunately the manager got changed, but we all know we have to play better.
"You are here to play, to do what the club and the manager wants you to do. If you don't like it, you can leave. I'm here to play, I want to play, so I do everything I can straight away to make sure the manager has no option but to pick me and put me in the team. It's the way I work, and it works for everybody because if you stay sad you will end up on the bench even more disappointed. You need to do the right things all the time."
Di Matteo was dismissed after a poor run of form that has seen Chelsea slip to fourth place in the Premier League, five points behind Manchester United at the top, and left them on the brink of an embarrassing Champions League exit but although Cech was disappointed to see the Italian dismissed, he was not shocked at the speed of his departure.
"I was his captain," Cech added. "We were talking after the game and he wished me good luck. I was disappointed at the way it all ended but as a player you have to switch on and do your best for the team.
"In football everything can go really fast in a good way or a bad way. Unfortunately when the bad way happens the consequences are not nice sometimes and the supporters are disappointed. But it's the way it is."
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image: © Ben Sutherland