Fulham manager Martin Jol predicts Rafael Benitez will ride out Chelsea boos

West London derby takes place tonight at Stamford Bridge

Fulham manager Martin Jol believes Chelsea fans will soon get over their dislike for Rafael Benitez once the Blues start picking up a few wins.

The Spaniard was appointed manager last week after Roberto di Matteo was unceremoniously sacked as Chelsea boss, despite having led the club to both the Champions League and FA Cup last season.

The former midfielder's popularity coupled with Benitez's Liverpool past produced a poisonous atmosphere during Sunday's goalless draw with Manchester City.

Those disgruntled Chelsea fans made their feelings known but Jol, speaking ahead of tonight's west London derby, thinks it will soon blow over.

"I think it had more to do with Di Matteo," the Dutchman said. "He was much appreciated there because he did well as a player and, I think, he did well as a manager, to be fair.

"It was not a decision that everyone could understand so you get this sort of thing.

"But Rafa Benitez is a true professional who has been in this business for a long time so he is tough enough."

Jol added: "I don't think I have experienced it before in my career, but of course, in England he was at Liverpool, a big club.

"He said probably a few things about Chelsea and I have done that in the past because you are like a chameleon.

"You get the colours of the club you are at and that is what he did so I think after a couple of wins I feel he will win them over.

"It is not only about the manager, it is about the club and winning games. Hopefully he won't start [against us].

"I feel it is a must-win game for them. They have to probably win, to have a result, otherwise that will be problematic."

Fulham head to their neighbours on the back of a five-match winless streak and the Cottagers are in danger of losing a third successive match.

Chelsea are also without a win in five league games, but Jol is not too bothered about the statistics.

"Two weeks ago they said we were on an unbeaten run of six games," he said.

"We had four draws in that and the game against Sunderland came up and we had a red card so we were a bit unfortunate.

"I feel you can always lose at Stoke so we are close, but of course we have to get our winning streak back.

"That is what I feel, because even you get draws that is not enough because it is only one point. We have had a lot of draws."

PA

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