The Straits Times
Published on Nov 26, 2012

New Chelsea coach Benitez pledges to convince boo boys


LONDON (AFP) - Rafael Benitez has vowed to win over the Chelsea supporters who are so opposed to his arrival at Stamford Bridge that they booed his name before and during his first game in charge.

Sunday's 0-0 draw at home to Premier League champions Manchester City left the Champions League holders in fourth place, a point behind West Bromwich Albion.

The Spaniard made an extraordinary claim that he had not heard the abuse that was directed at him in protest at his appointment to succeed Roberto Di Matteo, who was fired despite leading the club to Champions League glory in May. The supporters also sang Di Matteo's praises throughout.

"My experience in England is that when the fans are singing in the stands, I don't understand what they say," said the former Liverpool manager, whose comments about Chelsea during his time at Anfield are the root of the enmity. "So I was just concentrating. I can understand because of the rivalry in the past.