Rafael Benitez can expect to be subjected to yet more abuse if Chelsea do not perform well in their next home game against Southampton, a Blues supporters group warned today.
After a brief respite, the fans who booed Benitez shortly after his appointment as interim manager started jeering the Spaniard again during Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup semi-final defeat to Swansea at Stamford Bridge.
Those fans, who also booed chairman Bruce Buck prior to kick-off, were angered at Benitez’s failure to introduce Frank Lampard and Demba Ba from the bench sooner than he did. One supporter even had to be restrained by stewards as he headed towards the bench to shout abuse at the former Liverpool manager.
Chelsea’s supporters have been left in “turmoil” since Benitez replaced fan favourite Roberto Di Matteo, according to Chelsea Supporters Group chair Trizia Fiorellino, who claims the club’s fans will never accept their current manager.
She, like many Chelsea fans, are unhappy with Benitez’s tactics, and today warned a “nasty” atmosphere could grip Stamford Bridge again next Wednesday should the team play poorly.
“I think if we don’t perform and we go a goal down it could get really nasty,” she said.
“If he keeps on losing games then this will continue.
“The fans are in turmoil. There are those that won’t accept Benitez at any price, and you have those that feel the current situation is not doing the team any good and feel that they should just accept it until he has gone.
“That has caused arguments in the stands and scuffles. A couple of people came to blows (on Wednesday). It was a really sad state of affairs.
“He isn’t helping himself with the fans by not making changes. Previous managers did, but he doesn’t seem to want to and that smacks of arrogance.”
Benitez oversaw a three-match winless streak just after he was appointed, but then kept Chelsea just about in the title race with a run of just one defeat in eight matches.
Yet the 1-0 home defeat to QPR and Wednesday’s loss to Swansea – plus the revelation that Frank Lampard had not been offered a new contract – has put some fans off watching Chelsea under Benitez.
“I know five people who have season tickets – they have paid between £700 and £1200 for them – and they say they are not coming back until he is gone,” Fiorellino added.
“And I understand why they are doing that. They love the club but hate what they are doing. It’s them making their own protest and I admire them for that.”