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Feb 12, 2013

Benitez gives up winning over fans

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has given up hope of winning over the Stamford Bridge faithful, insisting he has no regrets about putting himself in the firing line as the stand-in boss of the European champions.

Benitez's hopes of landing the Chelsea job on a permanent basis seem to have been dashed after a series of frustrating performances in his turbulent three months in charge, but the Spaniard is convinced he can still bring success back to the club if he is given the chance.

"I cannot change the perception people have of me because I was successful at Liverpool against Chelsea," Benitez told the Daily Mirror. "I thought when I came that if I carried on winning games here, it would get easier, but if you cannot win all the time.

"I understand that sometimes the fans get a little bit frustrated and I am frustrated too, but at any club, whatever its circumstances, there are always going to be people who do not agree with you.

"In football in England, you have 60 million managers. In Spain, there are 40 million managers. Everyone has an opinion. You have to accept that this is normal. Especially now, in this society, everything is so quick.

"If people stop you on the street and they ask you questions, you can give them your answer or have a conversation with them, but when you are in the stadium, you cannot be thinking too much about what they say.

"I don't regret coming here at all. I knew Chelsea could be a difficult challenge but at the same time you had the potential to do things in the way you wanted to do things. As soon as I realised I had the opportunity, I knew there would be challenges but I thought I could fight for trophies. There are plenty of clubs where that is not possible. That is why I came and that is why I am here."

Benitez is urging his players to give everything to achieve success in the Europa League after their hugely disappointing Champions League demise in the group stages, as he is targeting cup success to salvage a disappointing season for Chelsea.

"The reality is that we are a team in transition," he added. "The priority is to finish in the top four or top three. After that, we have two more trophies that we can try with the FA Cup and the Europa League.

"My ambition to win trophies is stronger than ever. People may think 'he has won a lot of trophies and maybe he is not thinking about winning any more', but it is the opposite. Because you have won and won in three countries, you want to show that you can carry on winning trophies."

Benitez's stuttering Chelsea will put their cup hopes on the lines in the next few days as they face Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, before an FA Cup fourth round replay against Brentford at Stamford Bridge this coming Sunday.

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