Rafael Benitez says keeping the Chelsea players, not fans, is his only concern

Chelsea have suffered from inconsistency since Benitez took over

Interim manager Rafael Benitez has revealed his only concern at Chelsea is keeping his players happy.

Benitez's appointment at Stamford Bridge has not been popular with sections of Blues fans, with an online petition calling for him not to be considered for the job full-time passing the 2,500 signatures it originally targeted.

Former Liverpool manager Benitez refused to be drawn on that, but when asked yesterday whether he felt he would forever be judged on his past, he said: "If I can see my players in training without conviction, I will be worried.

"Today, I was talking with one or two senior players, explaining and agreeing the way we are doing things is right or if we have to change this or that. We are working with the players every day, and they're happy.

"We cannot control the perception from outside, but I can influence the players, explain things and analyse things."

Benitez also revealed ahead of tonight's Premier League game at Reading that he had even gone as far as to consult his players on team selection and tactics.

He said: "Not always, but sometimes. I have an experienced staff, too. But the feedback from the players is important.

"I talk with them, that's my way. Some managers like to be seen in the press, 'man-management' with arms on the shoulders.

"I talk to the players every day. I talk with the injured players in the physio room, with the players in training, or with senior players; why this, why that, and what we need to improve and what the game plan will be."

More than one senior player has publicly backed Benitez since he took charge, although a ringing endorsement from captain John Terry and vice-captain Frank Lampard may help quell any supporter revolt.

Benitez said: "It's not just to help me. We have to win together. It's important for the team to have everyone behind us.

"If we're winning, it'll be easier. If not, we'll need to have everyone pushing in the right direction. John, Frank, Ashley [Cole], [Fernando] Torres, [David] Luiz... they're all trying to do their best.

"Everyone, in his own way, is trying to do his best."

That did not look the case in the first half of Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round draw at Brentford, but Benitez insisted he would never read the riot act to his players.

"No, I treat them with respect, as professionals," he said. "They're players, people, and I treat them normally."


peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam