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Feb 28, 2013

Cundy: Rafa has only himself to blame

Former Chelsea defender Jason Cundy believes interim boss Rafael Benitez has been guilty of orchestrating his own downfall at Stamford Bridge, after failing to win over the club's fans by adopting an attractive brand of football.

• Lythell: Benitez snaps

Speaking on talkSPORT, Cundy suggested Benitez's position as Blues manager "was now untenable" after his passionate outburst against the club's board and supporters following Wednesday night's 2-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough.

Cundy suspects Chelsea will be seeking to appoint their third manager of the season in the coming days and had little sympathy for Benitez's plight, after the Spaniard claimed he was not happy to have been handed the title of interim Blues boss.

"I cannot accept that Benitez was surprised to be called interim manager because at the end of the day, Avram Grant and Robby Di Matteo had that title and they both got Chelsea to a Champions League Final," stated Cundy.

"Benitez has not helped himself because if Chelsea were winning and had been playing attractive football over the last few months, it would have quietened the fans. The trouble is they have not been playing well.

"He should never have been offered the job and while I have a little sympathy with him for what has gone on, you cannot come out and attack the owner and have a go at the fans. You cannot get away with that, you can't.

"I said last summer that if Chelsea finish third and win a trophy, then that would have been a decent achievement. Di Matteo could not have done better than that, Benitez could not have done better than that, but the style of football is not as good now as it was at the start of the season.

"This is a transitional period for Chelsea. If they finish third in the Premier League and win a cup, that will be a great season. They were never going to win the Premier League because the top two were always going to be the Manchester clubs, so this is all we could expect to achieve this season.

"There were too many changes at the club, too many personnel changes to expect the team to challenge for the title this season."

Cundy went on to question Benitez's tactical decisions during his turbulent reign and suggested his insistence on alternating between strikers Fernando Torres and Demba Ba from game to game "was no way to run a top side" before insisting Chelsea will attract a top class manager this summer, even if the club fails to qualify for the Champions League.

"I don't buy the idea that Chelsea will struggle to get a top manager to come in this summer," he added. "Name me one manager whose career has been ruined by going to Chelsea. Luiz Felipe Scolari is a World Cup winner who is manager of Brazil again after his disappointment at Stamford Bridge and Andre Villas-Boas got the job at Tottenham and he is doing very well.

"Plenty of top managers would jump at the chance to come to a club like Chelsea and I don't think qualifying for the Champions League is crucial in deciding who the club get to take over."

Cundy went on to suggest current captain John Terry could emerge as a shock contender to be handed the Chelsea manager's job, as he described the current situation at the club as "crazy."

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