Like most weeks, Rafa Benitez received a lot of stick for his team selection, with Sky Sports News’ Charlie Nicholas claiming Rafa was thinking about his CV, but given the situation, can you blame him?
Further to that, given the way Robbie Di Matteo secured the job, aren’t we being hypocritical to slate Rafa?
Let me start by making one point, I have no sympathy what-so-ever for Rafa, he knew exactly what he was walking into when he accepted this job. A man of his experience can’t have been naïve enough to think everything was going to be forgotten.
The #RAFAOUT chants started almost immediately, continuing ever since, Rafa lost it after Middlesbrough, and probably lost the dressing room too.
“At the end of the season I will leave. They [the fans] do not have to worry about me.” Said Benitez as he laid into the Chelsea faithful and made a few digs at owner Roman Abramovich, following another disappointing performance.
From this moment, thoughts have been on this season coming to an end, and Rafa finally leaving us for good.
That rant however, left both the club and Rafa at a crossroads; the club wants Champions League football and silverware.
Rafa wants another job, and this is achieved with success, you can see the two have just one common aim.
Can anybody really blame Rafa for his team selection on Saturday? Put anybody else in the same situation, they would do exactly the same.
Just look at RDM.
Monday see’s Rafa go up against his biggest rival, Sir Alex; there’s no chance in hell that he would rather pick up three points against Southampton than put one other Fergie.
Anybody who says Rafa should be professional whilst he is employed by the club are fools, nobody expect probably fans, would put the clubs best interests at heart.
This brings me nicely back to RDM, Chelsea’s latest legend, FA Cup and Champions League winning manager, harshly sacked by Roman after leading the club to a group stage exit of that competition (be honest, we had no chance of making knockout stages from last game).
Like Rafa, he was given the job until the end of the season, when Andre Villas-Boas was sacked in March last year.
As I have already mentioned, RDM went on to lift the FA Cup and Champions League, hence him being awarded a two year contract with the club.
What about the league I hear you cry, well about that, RDM focused his team’s attentions on winning those trophies so much, that the league became ‘second fiddle’ so to speak, you can see the resemblance right?
Chelsea actually finished in sixth place, five points adrift from the top four. RDM won just five games in the Premier League, losing three and drawing three.
Can you now honestly say that RDM didn’t gamble the clubs chances of Champions League football last season?
Yes winning the Champions League meant we played Champions League football the following year, whereas winning the FA Cup or Europa League won’t, but RDM managed club against teams that finished above us four times in those 11 games, he picked up two points.
Win those games, Chelsea finished top four, well that’s what would have happened if RDM had the clubs best interests at heart, right?
Of course, some of these comments are tongue-in-cheek, we won the Champions League for Christ’s sake, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
The point I am trying to make, is that how can you berate Rafa for gambling on Champions League football, but applaud RDM for doing the same thing?
All we can do is trust that the players will want Champions League football next season and put in performances to ensure we get that.
Then we can be gone with Rafa and embark on a bright future with an extremely talented bunch of players, and hopefully, the right man in charge.
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