Danger! Benitez has nothing to lose, but Chelsea do

‘Interim’ Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez witnessed his team’s poor 2-1 defeat at St Mary’s to Southampton on Saturday.

Chelsea now sit dangerously close to the edge – that edge being the line between qualifying for next season’s Champions League and not. The Blues dropped down to fourth as Tottenham’s victory at Swansea saw them leapfrog their London rivals into third.

Both Chelsea and 5th place Arsenal have a game in hand on Spurs, but there’s currently just four points separating the three London teams vying for the top four.

The biggest concern for Chelsea should be that their ‘interim’ boss has already stated he will leave at the end of the season – his title ‘interim’ is self-explanatory in the first place. With that in mind, he doesn’t really have anything to lose and that is a very precarious situation for Chelsea in their current position.

A manager whose job is insecure is usually in top tier football a very stressed man under intense pressure from the owner, the board, the fans and the media. Rafael Benitez was unwelcome at Stamford Bridge the moment he arrived and he’s been increasingly less welcome as time has gone by.

The fans don’t want him, the owner never intended his appointment to be permanent, the media make no difference in this case and I’m sure the Spaniard can’t wait to get out of Dodge.

In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s already packing his personal belongings into a cardboard box underneath his desk. I imagine he can’t wait to see the back of Chelsea and, by the fans’ discontent, I’m sure the feeling’s mutual.

The thing is, he’s got nothing to make him care – he’s not got ambitions of staying at Chelsea and making himself a legend or a success in any capacity. Not now, anyway. He really doesn’t have anything to lose.

Chelsea FC do, however. They can still lose out on Champions League football if they lose or draw just one more of their eight fixtures left. That is the very scary reality the Blues face.

Their slip on Saturday is just another symptom of their lack of consistency and motivation. How can a manager who doesn’t care motivate his players to care?

How can the manager build a decent run of form when he’s got his eye on the emergency exit? His mind simply isn’t focused on succeeding with Chelsea. Why would it be? Especially after the way he’s been treated there.

Wherever Chelsea are placed come May is irrelevant to Rafael Benitez as he knows as does everyone, he won’t be there to pick up the pieces.

images: © Doha Stadium Plus, © k1ngk0ng

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