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Chelsea Terrace Talk – Irish Examiner Article By Trizia

Benitez has assumed the position of the wicked stepmother just in time for the panto season. The majority of Chelsea fans neither wanted him nor like him but realise we have little choice in the matter at the moment. He should be under no illusion that he has been accepted though – the blue faithful made sure of that at Sunderland at the weekend. From the start of the game to the end all you could hear was “we don’t care about Rafa, he don’t care about us, all we care about – is Chelsea FC”- the 3-1 win did not silence the crowd – if anything it got louder as the game became safe.

If he was an intelligent man, he would just accept that this is the way it’s going to be – and just work at maybe changing the minds of those who can be swayed by results (not many of those), but that isn’t him is it? This week he has written an “open letter” on his website – that’s right – his website – why does a manager need a website? The home page has picture of Benitez – looking determined – or maybe it’s constipated – not sure.

It doesn’t state who the “open letter” is to – if, as I suspect, it is aimed at Chelsea fans – well, can I say, not only is it ill-advised, but it is the biggest load of self-indulgent, self-pitying bilge I have had the misfortune to read in quite some time. He whines about how going out of the Champions League wasn’t his fault – we know that. How hard he’s been working – how many training sessions he’s taken – errr…isn’t that your job – which you get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for? He brushes over West Ham very quickly – obviously can’t think of an excuse for that one.

He then reminds everyone that he has participated in the World Club Championship twice before – like that proves his pedigree – except of course he won it with Mourinho’s Inter and lost it with his Liverpool….

He then hilariously thanks everyone for all the messages of support – the letters, e-mails, calls – intimating that he has been over-whelmed by the number – seriously, who is he trying to kid? What was the point of this “open letter”? The self-promotion is embarrassing, transparent and fools no-one – especially the fans. What next? A promotional pamphlet? A video of “Benitez – he man”? Give me strength – May cannot come soon enough.

But back to the important stuff – the football.  Unsurprisingly, Chelsea’s reticence to give Ashley Cole a new contract has alerted every top club in Europe with Real Madrid and Manchester City having come our publicly with their wish to sign him. That in itself should have perhaps prompted someone at Chelsea to come to their senses and sign him up for at least another two years. We seem determined to make the same mistake Arsenal made, quibbling over what amounts to pennies in the great scheme of things. Perhaps if we hadn’t had to spend so much money on paying off perfectly adequate managers then we could come to mutually acceptable terms? Just a thought.

Equally, the Sturridge to Liverpool rumours continue unabated – which can only mean that we have someone signed up and ready. But even then, this seems a very short-sighted deal. Sturridge is young and obviously talented – anyone can see that – he has impressed with even the limited opportunities he has been given at Chelsea. There have been mutterings about his attitude – but his talent is there for all to see and to allow him to leave would be a crime in itself, but to allow him to go to a direct rival is stupidity on an Arsenal scale. And let’s face it even if we do have someone waiting in the wings and IF the latest Torres new dawn continues, it still leaves us very lightweight up front.

So Japan now for the World Club Pointless Cash Cup – something we really didn’t need at the moment. It just means even more pressure to win the games in hand when we get back as well as the inevitable fixture congestion – and I’m sure the long haul flights won’t help either.

It was good to see Frank Lampard back this week – the epitome of class and professionalism. Again, I am hoping that the rumours doing the rounds of his impending departure are mistaken. At such a difficult time, it would be good to have such a figure remain on board; someone so revered by the fans, a player who has won it all and still I believe has much to give; a player that given the opportunity could still break Bobby Tambling’s goal scoring record – for his service alone, he should be given the opportunity to do it. Sentimental I know, but I believe that he can still bring something to the team – although not the guaranteed starts which were once a given. Lampard is an intelligent player – he understands that, and can see that the team is being taken in a different direction that when he was an integral part. That said, his inclusion often stabilises the midfield and the team and there is bound to be games where this is needed. Whoever manages Chelsea needs to take a pragmatic approach with Lampard and he and the team could benefit from such a scenario – just as United did with Scholes and Giggs. It would also go some way to perhaps placating the fans in the short term. It’s certainly something to think about. Sayonara!

Posted by Trizia

(You can see all of Trizia’s articles here)

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