Rafael Benitez reveals he is YET to meet or speak to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich

Joining Benitez at Stamford Bridge will be former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder Boudewijn Zenden as well as coaches Paco de Miguel and Xavi Valero

Rafael Benitez revealed tonight he had not met Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abramovich, before his unveiling as manager. Benitez said he had not even spoken to the man who has removed seven managers in eight years, but said it would be “easier” at Chelsea than working for two owners at Liverpool.

“I will meet [Abramovich] today,” Benitez said this evening. “The main thing is that I have spoken to Michael Emenalo, the technical director, and he is my link. I like to speak about football with him. That’s my priority. My agent was doing his job. I was focusing on other things.”

Benitez’s tenure at Liverpool was dominated by politics, particularly regarding the club’s two feuding American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Benitez said working for one all-powerful owner would be easier than his situation at Anfield

“It was a difficult time, but still we were performing,” Benitez remembered of his time at Liverpool. “Now you have a different situation and it will be easier. If you have two bosses who aren’t talking to each other, it’s difficult. You want a striker and one of them says: ‘I don’t know.’ This will be easier.”

“You saw how we were performing even with all these problems. Here you don’t have two owners who aren’t talking to each other. You have an owner, a technical director and good staff, so for me maybe it’s easier.”

Benitez would not comment on the news that Mark Clattenburg had been cleared following accusations of racial abuse. Prospect, the referees’ union, called for an apology, compensation and a charity donation from Chelsea. “I want to concentrate on football issues if I can,” Benitez said.

The Spaniard hopes he will forge a good working relationship with Abramovich. “Hopefully I will see the owner and talk about things,” he said. “The info I have from different people is that he likes to see his team playing good football, but he’s not involved every day, telling the manager to do this or that. He just wants to see the team playing well.”

Joining Benitez at Stamford Bridge will be former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder Boudewijn Zenden as well as coaches Paco de Miguel and Xavi Valero. “I will not change too much because, when I spoke with Emenalo, we knew they had some good coaches with the staff here,” he said. “I will bring some people who will be easier for me. I chose Zenden because he was my player, he worked here for three years and knows the environment. You don’t want to waste time getting to know things.”

Although Benitez is only the interim manager, with a contract until the end of the season, he said his future was in his hands if he was successful. “If I do well and win trophies, I’d be really happy and then we will see,” he said. “At this moment I’m here. I got the job. This is very simple: winning games. Winning games is a guarantee for everything. If you can do it in a row, you can win trophies.”

The appointment of Benitez was unpopular with some Chelsea fans given comments made in the past. Benitez defended his comments, saying they were natural. “We were playing against Chelsea, a top side, in the semi-finals of the Champions League,” he said. “If I’m a fan, I’d like to see my manager fighting for my team, my club, and doing almost everything. So I don’t think it’s a lack of respect for the Chelsea fans. It’s more a manager defending his team. I’m sure the fans here would like to see me doing the same now that I am here, defending their club.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high