Benitez: Give me a full season at Chelsea and we can be Premier League champions
21:52 GMT, 26 January 2013
00:00 GMT, 27 January 2013
Rafa Benitez has admitted he would love to stay at Chelsea and that he would have a better chance of winning the league if the club give him a full season to impose his ideas.
Chelsea take on Brentford on Sunday in the FA Cup fourth round, the last domestic trophy they can realistically win, and Benitez says the negative reaction by fans to his reign so far would not stop him from taking the job next season if he were offered it and that he would relish a proper chance to challenge for the title.
Having lost the World Club Cup and been knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Swansea, Benitez would need to win the FA Cup or Europa League to convince owner Roman Abramovich to give him the job.
Stick with me: Rafa Benitez has urged Roman Abramovich to keep him in the job at Chelsea for a full season
But Benitez believes his side are making progress and the key figures at the club – Abramovich, his assistant, Marina Granovskaia, and technical director Michael Emenalo – are said to be impressed with his approach to training and tactics.
Despite the Capital One Cup defeat and disappointments at home against QPR, Swansea and Southampton, Benitez is optimistic for next season.
'I'd like to be in a top side,' he said. 'And Chelsea are a top side with great potential. So it's a great opportunity. I came in the middle of the season, so I couldn't change too many things and I had to work with the squad I had.
'This team have enough quality and they're a good squad but the circumstances of this year have been difficult. This is a top side and if they continue doing things in the right way they will always be challenging for trophies.'
Benitez believes his record will stand up to scrutiny at the end of the season, given that the club have switched to a new playing style, are attempting to overhaul the key players and that he only started mid-season.
He said: 'If you go outside and it's snowing and you fall down, they say, “Ah, he fell down”. But the reality is, it's snowing, which makes it slippery and makes you fall down.
'So if you analyse all the managers [at Chelsea], how many had a pre-season here Not me. How many managers have spent massive money here Not me. How many managers have played in Japan in the middle of the season and have some players injured and some at the African Nations Only me.'
Shame: Eden Hazard was sent off in Chelsea's last outing for kicking out at a ball boy
Back in action: Hazard was in training this week at Chelsea's Cobham base
Benitez wants to sign a holding midfielder, having concluded the team do not distribute the ball quickly enough from defence to attack.
But Emenalo and the board are reluctant to commit to a major signing in January given that the identity of the future manager is unclear.
With Oriol Romeu injured and John Mikel Obi at the African Cup of Nations, Benitez has been forced to play Ramires and Frank Lampard in holding midfield almost every game when his inclination would be to rotate the older players.
Benitez said: 'We have enough quality in the squad. The question is do we have enough bodies'
Next up: Uwe Rosler will be hoping that Brentford can topple Chelsea on Sunday