Will Rafa Benitez set Jose Mourinho up for a fall?

Rafa Benitez 02

If cup-masters Chelsea do win Europa League silverware but miss out on the top four, following Benitez could suddenly be tricky for the Special One.

Jose Mourinho in the shadow of Rafa Benitez? It doesn't bear thinking about for the Special One, while the concept seems alien.

Every Chelsea manager to follow Mourinho, from Avram Grant to Andre Villas-Boas, has had to contend with being compared to the present Real Madrid coach.

Rafa Benitez included, for his past battles with Mourinho while Liverpool boss have scarred any attempt to win over the Blues fans.

Mocked as 'The Interim One', as it turns out, Benitez is salvaging something from Chelsea's apparent lost season, by guiding their talented squad through to the Europa League Final.

It makes you wonder what Benitez could have achieved had Di Matteo got them through the group stages of the Champions League, but that really is a moot point.

What matters is the future, and with Jose Mourinho expected to be incoming, Benitez could leave him a tough legacy to contend with.

For if Benitez leads Chelsea to win the Europa League, but fails to finish in the Premier League top four, Mourinho will be stuck in a position he will not relish being in.

The Special One will find himself managing in the Europa League for the very first time; he last managed Porto in the competition when it was known as the UEFA Cup, leading them to victory in 2002/03.

If that happens, anything less than victory in the competition will seem like second best to Benitez - and that isn't something his ego will be prepared to accept.

So Mourinho will not only be driven by an obsession not to come second best, but he will have to try to balance this with finishing in the top four and even winning the league too.

It promises to be fascinating if Mourinho does take charge next season, and he may just be watching on from Spain fingers crossed that Benitez gets one up on Spurs and Arsenal and brings Champions League Football into his lap for next season, rather than it's less lauded poorer cousin.

image: © thesportreview

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