Chelsea vs West Brom: Benitez Watch

Rafael Benitez took charge of Chelsea against West Brom after criticising the decision to name him as 'interim' manager and hitting out at the club's fans.

Rafa Benitez, Chelsea

Here, we assess Benitez's afternoon at Stamford Bridge.

Reception

Sticky-back plastic, permanent markers and cardboard were in evidence, but this was no episode of Blue Peter. Banners included: "The Interim One" and "Rafa Benitez we're just not that inter im".

Benitez quietly took his seat as West Brom's Steve Clarke was introduced to warm applause before the now normal expletive-laden chants were directed towards the Spaniard.

Atmosphere

The homage to former boss Roberto Di Matteo was observed after 16 minutes, but there was also plenty of encouragement for the Blues players, meaning perhaps Benitez's comments had been heeded to some extent.

There were chants for captain John Terry, Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho, who has been linked with a return this summer. Benitez was booed every time he touched the ball in his technical area and inadvertently rose to his feet when fans sang "Stand up if you hate Rafa".

Tactics and selection

Demba Ba justified his inclusion ahead of the misfiring Fernando Torres with a first-half poacher's goal, but the build-up play around him was a little too intricate at times, with Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard all culpable, the Brazilian missing numerous chances.

Result

There is recent precedent for a change of Blues manager following losses to West Brom, with losses to the Baggies the final Premier League matches for Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo. Benitez greeted a fifth win in seven with a double clenched fist salute.

Media management

A smiling Benitez addressed the media as if Wednesday night had not happened. He returned to his role as politician, praising both the players and supporters and appeared relaxed after securing victory.



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