'I'll try my best to win their trust. That's it': Rafael Benitez refuses to apologise to Chelsea fans

Benitez prepares to take on Fulham, and supporters of his own club

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The Independent Online

Rafael Benitez has refused to apologise to Chelsea fans for comments he made while in charge of Liverpool.

The west-London club's interim manager received an incredibly hostile reception on Sunday when he took charge of his first game, a 0-0 draw with Manchester City.

When he was introduced at Stamford Bridge he was greeted by boos, while throughout the match he was heckled and the name of his predecessor, Roberto Di Matteo, was chanted.

The hostility towards the Spaniard stems from his time in charge of Liverpool, a period which saw an intense rivalry between his former and current club emerge.

The chair of Chelsea Supporters' Group called on Benitez to apologise for his conduct towards the Blues, but Benitez, speaking ahead of tomorrow's match against local rivals Fulham, questioned the accuracy of some of the quotes attributed to him.

"The problem is we can analyse what I said and didn't say," he said.

"We can't be checking if it's true or not. I'll try my best to win their trust. That's it."

One comment that is beyond dispute is Benitez's praise of the passion of Liverpool fans, which included a sideways dig at that of Chelsea supporters.

The quote has been immortalised at the Reds' Melwood training ground and pressed on whether he would apologise for it, he said: "I was praising the fans of my club, my team.

"But I'm here now, it's my club, and I will do my best for them.

"That's my explanation, very easy and very simple.

"I will try to defend my club, and this is now my club."

Benitez can expect little let up from Chelsea fans when Fulham visit tomorrow, a game his opposite number Martin Jol has described as "must-win" for the Blues.

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