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
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star