The Sports Matrix: Monday 26 November 2012


Football: Benitez vows to win round the Chelsea boo boys

Rafael Benitez was defiant last night that he could win the Chelsea fans over after being subjected to an extraordinarily hostile reception in his first game in charge.

The former Liverpool, right, manager was loudly booed before the 0-0 draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge yesterday, while many Chelsea fans sang songs such as "F*** off Benitez, you're not welcome here". Roberto Di Matteo's name was sung throughout.

"My experience in England is that when the fans are singing in the stands, I don't understand what they say," said the Spaniard. "I'm a professional, I do my job, I want to win, and I want to win for the club. I hope they share those ideas."

When Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was asked what Benitez needed to do to win over the fans, he replied: "Win, win, win, win, win, win, win. Win every game. Only the results can help, I think so."

Benitez's first game was fairly quiet, with Chelsea mustering just one shot on target. The draw keeps Manchester United top of the Premier League, with Chelsea in fourth behind West Bromwich.

Formula 1: Vettel claims his historic third title

Sebastian Vettel paid tribute to Ayrton Senna after matching the Brazilian's tally of three world titles during an astonishing climax to the Formula One season at Interlagos yesterday. Vettel, the youngest to win three titles, finished three points clear of Fernando Alonso. MORE

Cricket: Pietersen feels the good vibes again

Despite being one of the failures in the first Test, Kevin Pietersen hit a superb 186 yesterday, helping England to take control of the second Test against India. He said: "The dressing room is absolutely fantastic." Alastair Cook scored 122, with India closing on 117-7, only 31 ahead. MORE

Rugby Union: McCaw relishing one last 'challenge'

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw is challenging his team-mates to deliver in next weekend's Test against England, with the All Blacks attempting to go a full calendar year without defeat. "Mentally we've got to be on the job so we can put in a performance," he said.

Rugby Union: Robinson quits Scots after defeat

Not for the first time in recent years, Scotland are approaching a Six Nations tournament with no clear idea of who will pick and prepare a team, after Andy Robinson quit as national coach following a 21-15 defeat to Tonga in front of their home support on Saturday.

Football: Defoe at the double in timely Spurs win

Tottenham Hotspur returned to winning ways yesterday with a convincing 3-1 victory over West Ham at White Hart Lane. Jermain Defoe scored either side of Gareth Bale's strike, with Andy Carroll grabbing a late consolation for the Hammers. MORE

Football: Many unhappy returns for Pardew

Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez helped Southampton out of the drop zone with a 2-0 home win over Alan Pardew's Newcastle. Ex-Saints manager Pardew said: "The intensity that Southampton put on the pitch was a problem for us." MORE

Football: Rodgers: Don't expect signings

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers played down the possibility of a busy January transfer window after seeing his side's goalless draw at Swansea. In a quiet affair, Raheem Sterling came closest, hitting the bar in the first half. MORE

Rugby union: Moody: Robshaw to keep captaincy

Lewis Moody has urged Stuart Lancaster to stick with Chris Robshaw as captain despite his kicking blunder in Saturday's defeat against South Africa. He said: "You shouldn't make a decision on captaincy rashly based on one bad call."

Golf: McIlroy closes season in style

The Ulsterman Rory McIlroy ended an unforgettable season with five straight birdies to take the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai yesterday, the world number one's fifth title of the campaign. MORE

Comment: Sam Wallace

QPR, with an ownership wanting success but who has so far been clueless about how to achieve it, could be one final great top-flight job for Harry Redknapp, who will be unveiled today.