Rafael Benitez confident he can appease unhappy Chelsea fans as he appoints Boudewijn Zenden

Chelsea will still go ahead with their plans to sign another forward in January

Rafael Benitez, who is not expected to get a warm reception for his first game in charge of Chelsea, is confident he can win over infuriated fans after being named as Roberto Di Matteo’s replacement as manager.

The 52-year-old is taking over with the team low on confidence after winning just two of their last eight matches, losing top spot in the Premier League and on the verge of Champions League elimination in the group stage.

But Benitez feels he can turn things around and believes he will quickly earn the backing of supporters in the process.

When asked about the fierce opposition to his arrival, he said today: “You know the fans they always want the same as the manager — to win games, so we will try to do the same.

“I think it is a top side and we want to challenge for trophies. My biggest challenge? At this moment we think about one game at a time so [I’m just] trying to win the next game.”

Benitez, who has been put in charge for the rest of the season and met the players for the first time today, has never been forgiven by many Blues fans for his disparaging comments about the club when he was in charge of ­Liverpool. In 2007, he even said he would never manage Chelsea, out of respect for the Anfield side.

But he has already made his first move to appease them by appointing former Blues winger Boudewijn Zenden as his assistant.

Although the club insist the coaching staff who worked under Di Matteo, in particular Eddie Newton and Steve Holland, remains the same for now, Benitez has brought in Zenden, who he signed for Liverpool in 2005.

Importantly, the former Dutch international played for Chelsea between 2001 and 2004 and already knows the influential duo, captain John Terry and Frank Lampard. Zenden is keen to get into coaching having retired from playing last year and has also been given a contract until the end of the season.

The 36-year-old has maintained a close relationship with Chelsea and has made guest appearances on the club’s TV station in recent months analysing the team’s performances.

He was at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago to see them beat Shakhtar Donetsk and spoke of his belief that Torres could still return to his best.

The Spaniard became one of the world’s top strikers while playing for Benitez at Liverpool and scored 81 goals in 142 games for the Reds but has only managed 19 in 87 matches since his £50million move to Chelsea last year.

Although the club hope Benitez’s arrival will spark Torres, they are going ahead with plans to sign another forward in January.

The former Valenica coach will only get a limited say in targets and Chelsea’s first-choice remains Atletico Madrid star Radamel Falcao, who has a £44m buy-out clause in his contract.

The Spanish club are expected to cash in to solve their financial difficulties, although they are keen to hold on to him until the summer.

The Evening Standard is reporting that Napoli’s Edinson Cavani remains the second choice and that his representatives visited London in recent weeks. The club are also monitoring Porto star James  Rodriguez, who can play in a variety of attacking roles.

There is also a possibility that Didier Drogba, who scored 155 goals in eight years for Chelsea, could return for a short spell on loan.

The Ivory Coast striker joined ­Shanghai Shenhua in the summer on a free transfer but the Chinese season has finished and he wants to remain in good shape to play for the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

He has asked for special dispensation from FIFA to make the move because it is outside the transfer window and was, significantly, at Stamford Bridge to watch their 1-1 draw against Liverpool earlier this month.

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?