I can win over Chelsea fans, says defiant Rafael Benitez following boos

'How many people do you need to write a banner? Just one. Then two holding it,' says Chelsea's new manager

Chelsea's new manager Rafael Benitez was defiant last night that he could win the supporters over after being subjected to an extraordinarily hostile reception in his first game in charge yesterday.

The former Liverpool manager was loudly booed before the game, while many Chelsea fans sang songs such as "F*** off Benitez, you're not welcome here". Roberto Di Matteo's name was sung throughout.

Benitez insisted that he was "not listening" to the fans. "My experience in England is that when the fans are singing in the stands, I don't understand what they say," he said. "So I was just concentrating. I can understand because of the rivalry in the past. But I'm sure the majority of the fans will understand: 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.

"I was just concentrating on the game and not listening to anything else. Just the performance of the players on the pitch."

The home supporters also brought banners to the 0-0 draw with Manchester City, with slogans such as "In Rafa we will never trust". Benitez questioned how representative those signs were.

"How many people do you need to write a banner?" he asked. "Just one. Then two holding it."

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

Benitez agreed with Mancini that success was the answer. "It's not a secret, it's true," he said.

"If we start winning games, they will come on board and they will see I'll try to do my best. The manager wants to win every game and the fans the same. So we will win together.

"The main thing is that the players are focused on the games. If they are, it'll be fine. I have confidence we will do well and win games. Some of the fans will realise it's not the way to support their team. They'll know they have a professional manager in charge, someone who wants to win games."

Benitez's first game was fairly quiet, with Chelsea mustering just one shot on target. The Spaniard spoke to Roman Abramovich afterwards and said the Chelsea owner was relaxed about the result and performance.

"[Abramovich] knows it was a tough game, a difficult time after the last games," Benitez said. "He knows my opinion. He's like me: he knows we have to win, want to win, and we keep working for that."

However, Benitez admitted that confidence was low after a difficult week. "The team were not performing at their level in the last games and lost a bit of confidence from the Champions League game," he said, referring to the 3-0 loss to Juventus on Tuesday. "But this was a clean sheet after so many games. You have some positives. I'm not 100 per cent satisfied because I want to win. But there aren't too many teams better than City in the Premier League."

Mancini said that Benitez would need time to revive Chelsea. "I don't think that Rafa is a magician," he said. "I don't think he can change everything in a few days. Two weeks ago, Chelsea were on top and playing well. They have good players. Every manager needs time."

Mancini said that he was frustrated with City's performance. The champions created chances in the first half but barely threatened after the break.

"I'm not satisfied with one point," Mancini said. "To play here at Chelsea is always difficult but to play well as we did here today, we can't lose two points. We were so poor in the last 20 metres. When we have a chance, we need to score. I like everything from my team, but not the last 20 metres. We had chances to score but we missed the last pass. If you are soft, you won't score. That's why I was upset."

Mancini predicted that Chelsea would still be in the title race: "We want to defend [the title]. But I think that us, United and Chelsea will fight for this title. They are a team to fight for this title."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot