|BENITEZ BACKS DOWN OVER CHELSEA TITLE
SportingPreview.com: 1 March 2013
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has backtracked over his rant after the Middlesbrough game on Wednesday night as he took part in his first press conference since then.
Benitez did not apologise for his comments about the fans on Wednesday and insisted he still wanted them to back him and the team and said that he had no regrets about taking the role at Stamford Bridge.
But remarkably, Benitez said that his title of 'interim manager' is not a problem. This comes after he said on Wednesday that it was a "mistake".
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When asked about unrest at Stamford Bridge because of his remarks about the club's decision to make his title 'interim' manager he said: "I do not have any problem with the board, Michael Emenalo, Roman Abramovich, the players.
"Yesterday I was with Ron (Gourlay), today I was with Ron. He was saying it's a cold day and I was wearing shorts. We were joking.
"What I want to do is the best for the team, the best for the club.
"I have been for 26 years training and coaching and always I have had principles, respect and education.
"It's the way that I have achieved what I've achieved. We have 11 games to play. If we stick together, it will be easier and we can get more points.
"I would like to see a fantastic atmosphere supporting the team, and I will be really pleased with that."
Benitez refused to confirm if he had been spoken to by Roman Abramovich after his comments and said they were designed to get the fans to back the team instead of chant about him.
"The message was very clear. Together, it will be easier to win games to get points, to be in the top four, top three, or maybe top two,' he said.
"I can control what I say. I cannot control what some people write. I don't have any problem with anyone. With the owner, the board, the players, Emenalo, nothing."
Following Wednesday's FA Cup win at Middlesbrough, Benitez said the decision to appoint him as 'interim manager' was "a mistake", but has now said "it's not an issue".
"I said before... One thing's a mistake. Another's an issue. Now it's not an issue.
"In my head, I am the manager. I have to manage the team. The title doesn't matter. The Champions League is a big title. I just concentrate on my job. That's fine, okay."
On Wednesday Benitez said he would be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season and he re-confirmed this today.
Benitez said: "What I said is I finish my contract until the end and I do not want to be a distraction.
"What I want to say to everyone is that if they concentrate and support the team, it will be easier."
And he would not be drawn when asked if a 'special' boss was needed to follow him.
"That is not my business," he said, sternly.
Benitez risked the sack after his passionate rant but the club insisted yesterday that it was just another normal day.
The manager and his players reported to their Cobham training base as usual for a routine light session and sports massage to get Wednesday night's match out of their legs.
Chelsea made no mention of Benitez's rant on their official website despite it dominating yesterday's sports coverage.
Rafael Benitez was quoted in Sportsmail.
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