Benitez: I am here to win trophies

Rafael Benitez told Chelsea fans he and they wanted the same things after arriving in London on Thursday following his controversial appointment as interim manager.

Football News: Rafael Benitez

Benitez began the challenge of winning round his new club's players and supporters on Thursday morning, something that could be helped by the addition of a former Blues star to his coaching staff.

Boudewijn Zenden has become Benitez's assistant, according to the Dutchman's father and agent - although the Spaniard could still face an uphill battle with supporters for whom he has long been a hate figure.

Benitez told Sky Sports News: "You know, the fans they always want the same as the manager, to win games and to win titles."

The 52-year-old said he would take "one game at a time" but was confident of delivering.

He added: "I think it is a top side. You can challenge for trophies when you are in a top side."

Zenden's father, Pierre, earlier told Voetbal International his son was on his way to Chelsea.

"He was approached on Wednesday by Benitez and is now on a flight," he said.

"Since yesterday [Wednesday], he phoned Benitez many times.

"I assume that he will be on the pitch this afternoon [Thursday], together with the manager.

"I assume he will finish the season, just like Benitez."

Zenden junior, 36, played for Chelsea between 2001 and 2004 before joining Benitez's Liverpool. He has never before held a coaching role.

Blues fans were still in shock on Thursday morning after owner Roman Abramovich completed arguably his most controversial day yet at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night by appointing Benitez to succeed Roberto Di Matteo.

The Russian handed the former Liverpool boss a contract until the end of the season, having seemingly been unable to woo the man said to be his number one target.

Juan Mata hailed Rafael Benitez as "a great coach" following his fellow Spaniard's appointment as Chelsea manager.

Mata became the first Blues player to react publicly to the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo and he has now led the way in responding to the controversial decision to hand former Liverpool boss Benitez the reins until the end of the season.

He told the Daily Mail: "Rafa Benitez is a great coach.

"He's got lots of experience and won a lot of trophies with Liverpool, taking them to a very high level. He knows the Premier League too."

Confirming new "interim" boss Benitez would meet Chelsea's players on Thursday, the European champions said in a statement: "The owner and the board believe that, in Benitez, we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives."

The length of Benitez's contract appeared the clearest indication yet of Abramovich's determination to land Pep Guardiola once the former Barcelona boss completes his one-year sabbatical.

And it would be no exaggeration to say Benitez would be the least popular of his eight appointments judging by the reaction of Chelsea supporters on social media.

Indeed, they are unlikely to roll out the welcome mat for his first game in charge against Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.

But all that failed to deter Benitez, who agreed his Chelsea contract during a trip to Abu Dhabi and will look to convince them or another big club to give him a longer-term deal.

It is impossible not to deduce part of Benitez's appeal to Abramovich was his relationship with £50million flop Fernando Torres, who he helped make one of the best strikers in the world at Liverpool.



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