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Feb 27, 2013

Benitez: I'll leave at end of season

The Spaniard, angry at continued criticism of him from the travelling Blues fans made it clear he would not be remaining at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of his current short-term deal.

Rafa Benitez has told the Chelsea hierarchy they made a "massive mistake" by making his job title interim manager and confirmed that he will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

• Blog: Ake stars, Benitez snaps
• Palmer: Benitez hints at exit
• Delaney: A Bridge too far
• Timeline: Chelsea comforts elude Rafa

Benitez, 52, hit out after travelling supporters at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium for Wednesday's FA Cup fifth round tie - won 2-0 by Chelsea - again chanted against him.

The Spaniard, who had made scathing comments about the Blues during his days as Liverpool manager, was an unpopular appointment when Roman Abramovich's club made him interim boss in November following the shock dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo.

He responded angrily to further chanting against him at Boro by accusing Chelsea fans of "not helping the team" and saying: "They don't have to worry about me - I leave at the end of the season."

And he suggested his job title had undermined him, telling BBC Radio Five Live: "They [Chelsea] gave me the title of interim manager. That was a massive mistake. Why did they need to do that?

"I am the manager, and I will manage the team until the end. I am a professional and I am doing my job. I want to win every game for Chelsea Football Club, but they [the fans] have to understand this.

"I have been a manager for 26 years. I have won the FIFA Club World Cup, the Champions League, the FA Cup - a lot of trophies.

"I really feel disappointed with a group of fans, because they don't do any favours to the team. They should support the players instead of wasting time preparing banners or singing songs [against him].

"What they have to do is support the team and create a good atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. If we cannot achieve the target that we are looking for - to be in the Champions League - they are not helping with their talking and talking."

Benitez accused some fans of having "an agenda" against him and said their behaviour was damaging Chelsea's image.

"They have to support the players, to support the team," he added. "I am an experienced manager. I will do my best until the last kick.

"If they [the fans] are going to carry on with an agenda, then they have to take responsibility. Stick together and we can achieve what we need to.

"If not, the next year, they can carry on singing - but they will be in the Europa League. So they have to appreciate that they are not doing any favours to the rest of the fans or to the players.

"They have to realise that the rest of the fans want to see the team in the Champions League next year."

Former Valencia manager Benitez insisted he did not have any problems with the Chelsea players, despite rumours during the week of rows with some senior figures at Stamford Bridge after the defeat at Manchester City.

"It is a top side, with top players who work hard," he said. "This is not a problem. The problem is people who think they can say what they want."

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