'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
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.
Latest in Sport
Toni Kroos admits switch to Manchester United is 'a possibility for me'
Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1 - player ratings: Who scored highest for the Gunners – Mesut Ozil or Lukas Podolski?
Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1 match report: Lukas Podolski goal fails to inspire comeback at the Allianz Arena as Gunners are knocked out of Champions League
Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1: Arjen Robben accused of being a 'very good diver' by Arsene Wenger after Gunners exit Champions League
Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to Arsenal and England striker
- 1 Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
- 2 Boy George: Bad karma
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 5 Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to Arsenal and England striker
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised