Manuel Pellegrini Chelsea link piles pressure on to Rafael Benitez
Saturday 16 February 2013
Manuel Pellegrini's agent has added to the pressure on Rafael Benitez by claiming an intermediary representing Chelsea has sounded him out about the availability of the Malaga manager.
Jesus Martinez also admitted that Pellegrini, who has a contract with the Spanish club until 2015, would love to manage in the Premier League and is preparing to make a decision about his future. The 59-year-old Chilean led Malaga to fourth place last season and this term has guided them through to the last 16 of their maiden Champions League campaign as well as keeping them near the top of La Liga.
The failure of Chelsea, who face Brentford in an FA Cup replay tomorrow, to offer any commitment to interim manager Benitez beyond the end of the season has left the Spaniard isolated, and talk of potential replacements has fuelled fans' antipathy.
Martinez said in Chilean newspaper El Mercurio: "Manuel has a contract with Malaga. I think that in April and May we will be clear about what will happen with his future. Our first intention is to respect our commitment, but it also depends on what the conditions are. We had a formal offer from Roma, but we rejected it. It was less than 15 days ago, but we discarded it outright because we are in the middle of the season.
"Chelsea and other clubs have asked, but only through intermediaries, nothing official. Manuel would love to coach in the English Premier League, as he would in Germany, Italy and other important leagues."
The claim will do little to ease the pressure on the embattled Benitez, who has been unpopular with the Stamford Bridge faithful since replacing Roberto Di Matteo in November.
He is set to pick John Terry for tomorrow's game but has admitted that working the supporters' hero back into the team regularly is a problem.
Meanwhile, Brentford goalkeeper Simon Moore says the League One side will use the uncertainty surrounding Benitez to their advantage. Fernando Torres's equaliser seven minutes from time at Griffin Park rescued Chelsea from an embarrassing defeat to their neighbours in the first match. Benitez has since guided his side to two consecutive victories but remains under pressure to secure a top-four Premier League finish.
"I think it's a great time to play them" said Moore. "Things behind the scenes don't seem right there at the moment and you could hear after the first game their fans screaming Rafael Benitez's name. That can only be a good thing for us if it's up in the air and gives us more of an opportunity to win the game. Obviously it's a real strange situation at the moment. He's only contracted there until the end of the season. It must be weird for him, thinking it's a hiding to nothing, really."
Latest in Sport
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3: 'We're upset we didn't score more goals,' admits Steven Gerrard
France 20 Ireland 22 match report: Ireland hold on to give Brian O'Driscoll perfect end to glittering career
Michael Schumacher: Sebastian Vettel pays tribute to F1 legend with special helmet for Australian Grand Prix
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3 player ratings: Who scored highest - Steven Gerrard or Luis Suarez?
Mo Farah allays health fears after passing out in New York half-marathon defeat
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
- 4 California man Christopher Viatafa surrenders to police after googling own name and discovering himself listed as ‘most wanted’
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say