Managers empathise with Benitez's plight

Several Premier League managers acknowledged in the wake of Rafael Benitez's outburst how important it was for managers to have strong boardroom backing.

Benitez can only kick the ball in frustration.

Speaking after Chelsea's 2-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough, Benitez turned on those who gave him the title of 'interim manager' when he succeeded Roberto Di Matteo in November, and the fans who have never forgiven him for guiding Liverpool to the 2005 Champions League final at the Blues' expense.

Benitez's relationship with club owner Roman Abramovich is coming under scrutiny but Stoke manager Tony Pulis said only the Chelsea manager would know what level of support he has.

He said: "What goes on at Chelsea goes on at Chelsea - I can't control that. In terms of what Rafa is going through, the best person to talk to is Rafa.

"Every manager has a different relationship with chairmen. I have had different relationships with other chairmen at other football clubs to what I have got with Peter (Coates).

"I'm very privileged to have the (Coates) family here, who are absolutely fantastic people. If I want to see them, I pop down the road and it is five minutes if I jump in my car. The door is always open for me to go and see them.

"Ask Rafa what his relationship is like with Abramovich or the people in power there. He is the only one who can answer that - and from that stems everything.

"When I first came into football, Bruce Rioch said to me the greatest relationship in a football club is between the manager and chairman. That was 20-odd years ago, and Bruce has been dead right. The relationship between yourself and the person who runs the football club is paramount to how the football club really projects itself.

"As a football manager, I am extremely lucky here. Other managers are not so lucky."

Asked whether players cared about the manager's job title, Pulis replied: "You can call me anything you want. The most important thing is that the people who are working for me have to show me respect. I don't care what I am called - especially behind my back!"

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez enjoys a good relationship with fans at the DW Stadium despite now being involved in a fourth successive relegation battle since taking charge at the club.

Martinez was a popular figure during his playing days with Latics and has retained much of that support - a situation in contrast to that experienced by his fellow Spaniard at Stamford Bridge.

But Martinez was unwilling to be drawn too much on that subject as he met media to preview his side's game against Liverpool this weekend.

"I didn't see it last night [Wednesday] but as a manager you are working 100 per cent every day to try to affect the things you can affect," he said.

"Obviously there are many issues you can't affect and you can't do much about it. As a manager that can make your job a little bit harder.

"But it is difficult to comment from my point of view. When you are involved in our situation, I don't think there is too much time to look elsewhere. I can't really comment."

Martinez admitted the title of an 'interim' manager was one he was not familiar with.

He said: "It is something you need to ask a solicitor. I don't know if it has anything to do with football. I have no experience on that so can't give an answer. It is something I haven't seen before."

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew feels the title did not help anybody concerned.

"The title probably didn't do him any favours," Pardew said.

"It probably didn't help Chelsea, and perhaps even upstairs, they might regret that title, if you want to call it that.

"He's a great manager; they are a great club. They will sort it out."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had some empathy with Benitez's situation but was thankful he had such a supportive backing at Anfield.

"He has obviously been understanding of the situation he has gone into - and only he and the football club know," the Reds boss said.

"You have empathy as a manager, but you know the game you are in.

"It's certainly better if they (the fans) are with you - you want the supporters to support the team."

Rogers praised the phenomenal support he has at Liverpool, while Stoke boss Tony Pulis said he was "very privileged" to have the relationship he has with his chairman.

"I'm very privileged to have the (Coates) family here, who are absolutely fantastic people," Pulis said.

"Ask Rafa what his relationship is like with (Roman) Abramovich or the people in power there. He is the only one who can answer that - and from that stems everything."



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