A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
Whilst most assumed Rafa Benitez’s dramatic press conference would signal the beginning of the end of his spell at Chelsea, the club have insisted that it is business as normal, with Benitez all smiles in training today. Chelsea TV’s interview with Benitez after the rant managed to even pass by without any mention of it.
The Daily Mail even suggests that Benitez planned his outburst as a way of strengthening his position at the club for the rest of the season. The manager’s fury at being labelled an “interim” manager was aimed at other senior figures in the club, and Benitez apparently aimed to solidify his good relationship with Roman Abramovich by standing up to the fans.
However Chelsea legend John Hollins believes that there is no way back for Benitez, and that he could even be fired before the end of the week. Hollins said that Benitez has made his position untenable by speaking about the club in the manner he did:
“If that is his attitude to the board and the supporters, I don't think he will last very long, maybe the end of the week."
However outside of Chelsea all the speculation has been about who will replace Benitez, either in the summer or perhaps after the weekend’s match with West Brom. One man who would love the chance to manage Chelsea is former manager Gus Poyet, who said it would be fantastic to be in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Michael Laudrup has said that fans have a right to boo their manager, and said that he doesn’t know exactly what he future holds for his own career. Laudrup has been linked with a host of top jobs after an excellent first season at Swansea, and Chelsea are rumoured to be looking at the Dane.
On HITC today we look at which of the managers who have been in charge at Chelsea under Abramovich Chelsea fans would be keen to see back at the club, along with three men who might be able to take the reins right away. Jenny Leigh also questions whether every Chelsea manager has been an “interim” boss under Abramovich, and Lewis Doe believes Rafa Benitez has been untreated fairly at the club.
In terms of footballing matters, Chelsea actually won 2-0 at Middlesbrough last night to set up a FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester United. Victor Moses has said that winning the tournament would salvage Chelsea’s somewhat ramshackle season.
Despite the uncertainty off the pitch, Chelsea are reportedly planning to press ahead with their attempts to sign Malaga midfielder Isco this summer. The 20 year old recently signed a new deal at the club, but has said before he will leave if Malaga need his transfer fee to help their financial situation.
image: © Daniel Coomber