Blues boss expects fans backlash
Rafael Benitez has shown signs of his tiredness at Chelsea after he told the media how he cannot win with the club’s fans.
The Blues boss has told the Mirror of his anguish as the FA Cup quarter final replay with Manchester United was announced to be played on Easter Monday, causing a fixture pile up for the Stamford Bridge side.
The announcement means that Benitez’s men will have to play four games in nine days if they overturn a 1-0 deficit against Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League tonight (Thursday).
The weekend fixture against Southampton on March 31 has been brought forward by 24 hours and will now be played on March 30, to allow the players some time to recover.
This is the second time in two weeks that the Spaniard has had an outburst aimed towards the fans, following his reaction to the win over Middlesbrough in the previous round of the FA Cup.
Last night he said, as reported by the newspaper: “I can do nothing about the congestion.
“All I can do is just concentrate on my job and try to do my best to prepare the team for every competition.
“Maybe somebody else will blame me. They will say it’s my fault – because everything is my fault.”
The 52 year old continued: “You are clever enough to realise I was joking.
“But if something is wrong, some people want to blame me. I have to manage this too.
“When you have to play every three days, or two days, which is the situation, you have to look at your squad, your players and the positions they play.
“Centre-backs and goalkeepers can play more games, but for wingers, full-backs, strikers, it is more difficult because of the intensity of the runs and the distance they run.
“You have to see which ones recover quickly and are fit. Others are older and need more time.
“So you have to analyse everything and decide – and still you get criticised.
“If you lose it’s, ‘You picked the wrong player.’ It’s quite difficult.”
The current Champions League holders came back from the brink against the Red Devils last week, coming from 2-0 down to secure a draw, taking the tie to a replay.
The tie was Benitez’s 30th game in charge of Chelsea, in just over 100 days at Stamford Bridge.
They have already played 51 games this season, six more than any other side in the Premier League.
Despite playing so many games already, should the Fulham-based outfit reach the final in the Europa League and FA Cup, it will mean they will have to play 19 games in 66 days.