Benitez declares Chelsea mission 'completed'

Rafael Benitez declared "job done" as he prepared for his final match as Chelsea manager.

Rafael Benitez, Chelsea

In seven months in charge, Benitez has led Chelsea back to the Champions League - Sunday's match with Everton will determine whether the Blues finish third or fourth in the Barclays Premier League - and this week won the Europa League.

If Jose Mourinho is appointed his permanent successor, the self-titled Special One will likely continue his long-standing war of words with Benitez, who followed the Portuguese as boss at Inter Milan in 2010.

Asked about the prospect of his work at Stamford Bridge being criticised, Benitez was defiant.

Benitez said: "It doesn't matter what some people will say. I think the job is done."

Benitez does not believe his successor - the 10th permanent boss in 10 years of Roman Abramovich's ownership - will need a handover meeting, but the Spaniard maintains the new boss, whether Mourinho or not, will inherit a vastly-improved team.

"I think maybe the next manager will have some experience here, too, so I don't need to give him any advice," said Benitez, again suggesting he believes Mourinho will be in charge next term.

"It's a stronger team. The players they have been improving and they have more experience.

"The team will be much better and the new manager, I think, will have an easier task because he will have more quality, more experience and he will start in pre-season. That is also an advantage."

Benitez has had numerous critics since his November appointment after Champions League-winning boss Roberto Di Matteo's departure, not least the supporters, who hurled vitriol towards the former Liverpool manager.

He does not expect everyone to praise the job he has done, but the players expressed their appreciation following Wednesday's Europa League win over Benfica in Amsterdam.

"You cannot convince everyone," Benitez said.

"I've been consistent in my message. I was trying to do my best every single day. I did it the other day and we won.

"I did it yesterday [Thursday] and I will try to do it on Sunday and after in America [for next week's post-season friendlies with Manchester City]."

Benitez has no regrets about taking up the job and highlighted qualification for the Champions League, lifting the Europa League trophy and scoring eight goals against Aston Villa in December as his most memorable moments at Stamford Bridge.

He said: "I am a manager and I like to manage a top side. Chelsea is a top side so I was quite pleased with this option.

"I think we played very good football, very attractive football during the whole season.

"We have scored 145 goals. That is the record in the history of the club. It's quite important.

"As a manager you have to be satisfied. A lot of very good memories."

Benitez believes he will benefit from the experience as he prepares for his next destination.

A leading English club would be his preference, but he would be prepared to try to make his mark on another side, by rejuvenating an underachieving giant, like he did at Liverpool.

"Sometimes you cannot choose," he said.

"There are not too many top sides available. Maybe a project is a good option.

"It's another opportunity, another challenge. You can build something with your ideas and you can see how they grow.

"The future is not something you can control. You have to control the present."

Benitez does not expect to be too emotional after Sunday's final match at Stamford Bridge, despite being a popular figure within the club.

Benitez said: "I can control my emotions during the game. After I have my emotions, too but I try to stay calm if I can."



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