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Europa League round of 16 draw

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Rafa: I won over some Blues fans

Rafael Benitez believes he succeeded in changing the opinion of many Chelsea fans during his time at the club.

• Torres hails outgoing Rafa

Benitez endured a topsy-turvy time at Stamford Bridge, winning the Europa League and qualifying for next season's Champions League but finding himself a target of derision from supporters.

The Spaniard, though, says he did all he could after taking over from Roberto Di Matteo.

"A lot of fans supported me in the end," Benitez is quoted as saying in The Sun and the Daily Mirror.

"Maybe some of them couldn't change their minds. You can only win trophies at the end of the season. You cannot win them in the first month with a new team.

"You have to be patient but in football that's more difficult. But we did our job and I hope everyone could enjoy it. We did what we had to do - that's the main thing.

"If you have a group of players who you've been working with for a while, and they were doing well, it's sad to go but, with the situation, I'm really pleased for them.

"They've grown and they will be much better next year. They have more experience and you can see the team was improving."

"I was just thinking about doing well in my own job and that's all. You can analyse better than me, but two semi-finals, a trophy and top three - everybody was saying 'You have to do this or that'... we did it.

"I have enjoyed it yes, especially when we were winning. But to see the players improving, the commitment during the whole season... I was really pleased. All I wanted to do was to do my job with a top side and to show people that we can still do well.

"They were a top group, I said at the beginning. We wanted to challenge for trophies and we did that. The circumstances were special but we still did our job as best as possible so I'm really pleased for everyone involved. my staff, players... everyone was pushing for us to do well."

The former Liverpool and Inter Milan boss has been heavily linked with Serie A outfit Napoli, and confirmed he hopes to return to club management in time for next season.

"I want to be back in work quickly, yes," he said. "But I will go back to London and be with my family for a while.

"I have learned a lot of things. You have a lot of situations, new players, new staff, new challenges. A lot of things have been really good."


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