Tag Archives: chaotic

Rafa Benitez"s first day in Chelsea madhouse

Rafa holds up well on first day in the madhouse with Gourlay and Buck nowhere to be seenReferee Clattenburg's race case blows up in club's faceMikel hit with FA misconduct charge for his actions on that day
Fans' anger growing over Benitez's appointment

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UPDATED:

23:43 GMT, 22 November 2012

At 5.55pm on Thursday evening, Rafael Benitez breezed into the Bobby Tambling suite at Stamford Bridge and was ready for anything. He had to be. This, after all, is Chelsea FC.

The European champions’ new manager was fully-briefed. On Chelsea’s chaotic regime, the hostile reception from supporters and the Mark Clattenburg affair.

He batted away a question about the FA’s verdict that there was no substance to Chelsea’s allegation: ‘This is my first day and I have just arrived,’ he said. ‘I went straight to training and have only thought about the team and what I want to do. I want to concentrate on football issues if I can.’

I'm back! Rafael Benitez held his first press conference as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge on Thursday

I'm back! Rafael Benitez held his first press conference as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge on Thursday

Remember me Benitez takes his first Chelsea training session on Thursday afternoon

Remember me Benitez takes his first Chelsea training session on Thursday afternoon

Under the microscope: Chelsea fans have been given their first glimpse of the new Blues boss

Under the microscope: Chelsea fans have been given their first glimpse of the new Blues boss

Under the microscope: Chelsea fans have been given their first glimpse of the new Blues boss

VIDEO: Watch Rafa Benitez's first press conference as Chelsea boss

Team bonding will have to wait

Chelsea stars were forced to cancel a team-bonding session after Roberto Di Matteo was fired.

Morale among players was so low following the 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich they planned a night out on Wednesday at Under the Bridge, a venue beneath Stamford Bridge.

It was seen as a chance for the squad to repair relations with the backroom staff following the stormy scenes at The Hawthorns when players, management and coaching staff traded insults after they fell four points behind Manchester City.

Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland had arrived at The Hawthorns with a black eye and a cut cheek and it was still prominent when he was in the dug-out at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday night.

It was a nice idea, but there are too
many other issues surrounding this club at the moment and not enough
people in power to answer them.

Chairman Bruce Buck and chief
executive Ron Gourlay are happy to pipe up on radio stations when it
suits them, but when it comes to questions that are fully-loaded they
are nowhere to be seen. Shame on them.

When the FA released a statement
clearing Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing their own player, John
Mikel Obi, they didn’t have the courage to face up to questions.

When Benitez was asked to explain why
he is prepared to keep the seat warm for Pep Guardiola, the Spanish
coach was left to front it out himself.

When the inevitable questions about
the savage decision to fire Roberto Di Matteo just six months after
leading them to Champions League glory began, it was left to Benitez.

No action: Mark Clattenburg has no case to answer while John Mikel Obi (right) has been charged by the FA

No action: Mark Clattenburg has no case to answer while John Mikel Obi (right) has been charged by the FA

Revival bid: Benitez gets to work on making Torres score goals again for the Blues

Revival bid: Benitez gets to work on making Torres score goals again for the Blues

Welcome: Benitez smiles as he arrives at Chelsea's training ground

New man: Benitez assesses his new workplace

New man: Benitez arrives at their Cobham HQ before assessing his new workplace

How Neil Ashton led the way

‘It’s like being at a Champions League
press conference,’ he joked, holding the Chelsea shirt up for cameramen
and immediately settling into his stride.

It was impressive stuff, but after
finally meeting Roman Abramovich for the first time over dinner on
Thursday night, he will soon come to terms with the conditions every
Chelsea coach has to work under.

Benitez added: ‘This is a massive
club, one that allows me to fight for trophies. If you see my CV, I have
all the trophies you can win at club level. I won the league twice, in
Spain. In Spain, Guardiola cannot win the Premier League — you cannot
win the PL if you are a coach in Spain.

‘The Premier League, obviously, would
be a massive trophy because I know how difficult it is to win it. If you
get an opportunity like this, you have to take it. I don’t care about
short-term. I have to win every game.

New man in the hotseat: Rafa Benitez arrives at training at Chelsea's Cobham training ground and told the fans to get behind him

New man in the hotseat: Rafa Benitez arrives at training at Chelsea's Cobham training ground and told the fans to get behind him

Reunited: Fernando Torres arrives at training at Cobham ahead of his reunion with Benitez

Reunited: Fernando Torres arrives at training at Cobham ahead of his reunion with Benitez

Leader: Captain John Terry turns up for training

Leader: Captain John Terry turns up for training

‘We have five trophies to fight for. I
will try from day one. In football and life you never know. If we win
some trophies in seven months, everybody will be delighted.’

This is a six-month trial, a chance to
prove to the rest of the world that he remains one of the best coaches
in football. That experience, along with his ability to get the best out
of Fernando Torres at Anfield, is the reason he has been appointed as
Chelsea’s interim manager on a six-month contract.

Benitez said: ‘I spoke with Torres
like with the others players today, and his attitude was really good. It
seems everybody was saying he wasn’t doing well and I was saying the
same when I was watching games.

‘But his attitude was really good and
with this attitude, all the players will do well. It will be easier with
Fernando than the others. He is a top-class player and with his
attitude, he will do it. I know how good he can be, as I know how good
David Luiz or Ramires can be. He’s one of the important players in this
team, and I’ll try and improve him like I will the other players.’

That is one of the reasons he has been
appointed, to improve the form of a man who was once recognised as one
of the most feared forwards in the game. Torres hasn’t scored in the
Barclays Premier League since Oct 6, when he found the net during a
routine victory over promoted Norwich.

The former Liverpool striker, who was signed by Benitez in 2007, will start against Manchester City in his first game on Sunday.

This is the beginning of Chelsea’s
recovery. It has to be that way after falling four points behind City in
the Premier League and in danger of becoming the first Champions League
winners to be dumped out in the group stages.

Making his point: A Chelsea fan stands outside the training ground with an anti-Benitez sign

Making his point: A Chelsea fan stands outside the training ground with an anti-Benitez sign

No thanks: Chelsea fan protested when Rafa Benitez was linked in March

No thanks: Chelsea fan protested when Rafa Benitez was linked in March

Benitez has made a start by appointing
former Chelsea star Boudewijn Zenden as first-team coach and has also
brought in two of his old Liverpool backroom staff, fitness coach Paco
De Miguel and analyst Xavi Valero.

Winning trophies is all important and
they can make a start in the FIFA World Club Cup next month. It will
certainly help his relationship with the supporters, particularly after
the hostile reaction to his appointment.

At Liverpool, during those infamous
Champions League clashes with Jose Mourinho, he claimed Chelsea’s
supporters were no match for the Merseysiders.

Benitez said: ‘I don’t remember the
comments, but if I said it then you have to analyse the context. We were
playing against Chelsea, a top side, in the semi-final of the Champions
League and I was defending my team.

Former Blue: Boudewijn Zenden will be one of Benitez's coaches

Former Blue: Boudewijn Zenden will be one of Benitez's coaches

End of the road: Roberto Di Matteo was sacked following Chelsea's defeat to Juventus

End of the road: Roberto Di Matteo was sacked following Chelsea's defeat to Juventus

‘If I’m a fan, I’d like to see my
manager fighting for my team, my club, and doing almost everything. So I
don’t think it’s a lack of respect for the Chelsea fans.

‘I’m sure the fans here would like to
see me doing the same now that I am here, defending their club. We have
something in common: I want to win every single game.’

Benitez has worked under difficult
conditions before, caught in the crossfire when Liverpool’s previous
owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks fell out. He said: ‘When I left
Liverpool I had two bosses who were not talking to each other. This will
be easier.’

After accepting a six-month contract, he couldn’t be more wrong.

You've changed your tune, senor! What Benitez said back then…

2005
After the game, Sheila, who was sitting right in line in the main stand, said to me that the ball had crossed the line. She is a very honest person and that was good enough for me. It was a goal.
(On taking his secretary’s word that Luis Garcia’s so-called ‘ghost goal’ had crossed the line in the Champions League semi-final between the sides)

To me, Arsenal played much better football two or three years ago. They won matches and were exciting to watch. Barcelona and Milan too. They create excitement so how can you say Chelsea are the best in the world
(After Chelsea’s first Premier League title win)

2007
Chelsea is a big club with fantastic players, every manager wants to coach a such a big team. But I would never take that job, in respect for my former team at Liverpool, no matter what. For me there is only one club in England, and that’s Liverpool.
If Chelsea are naive and pure then I’m Little Red Riding Hood.

We do not need to give away flags for our fans to wave — our supporters are always there with their hearts and that is all we need. It’s the passion of the fans that helps to win matches — not flags. (The quote has been immortalised in a plaque at Liverpool’s training ground, below)

Rafa's words

I’m sure Chelsea do not like playing Liverpool. When they are talking and talking and talking before the game it means they are worried. Maybe they’re afraid
We were good friends until Liverpool started winning, then he started changing his mind. (on then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho)

Yesterday
In the past I was playing against Chelsea, a top side, in the semi-finals of the Champions League and if I am a fan I like to see my manager fight for my team, trying to win every game and doing almost everything, so I don’t see a lack of respect for Chelsea fans, it was more a manager defending his team against another top side. I am sure they will like to see me defending my club now in the way I defended Liverpool at this time.

And as for Torres

I know everybody will be talking about Fernando Torres and today I was talking with him like I was talking with the other players and his attitude was good. Everybody has been talking about he was not doing well and I was the same because I was watching games and his attitude was really poor, and today it was the same as all the others.

Sunderland talk to Michael Owen over free transfer

Owen talks to Sunderland but Stoke remain favourites to sign free agent

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UPDATED:

10:57 GMT, 2 September 2012

Sunderland have expressed an interest in bringing former Newcastle striker Michael Owen back to the north-east.

The Black Cats made initial contact with the 32-year-old as manager Martin O'Neill attempted to boost his striking options. The summer transfer window is closed but Owen is still able to sign for a club due to his status as a free agent.

However, it is understood that conversation is yet to be followed up and that long-time admirers Stoke remain more likely to make the decisive move.

Up for grabs: Michael Owen was released by Manchester United this summer

Up for grabs: Michael Owen was released by Manchester United this summer

Owen, who was released by Manchester
United at the end of last season, has indicated he wants to stay in the
Barclays Premier League despite receiving offers from Europe, and he has
been linked with a series of clubs, including Everton, Liverpool and
West Ham as well as the Potters and Sunderland.

He
spent four years in the north-east after Newcastle made him their
record signing when they pulled off what looked like a sensational coup
by bringing him back to England from Real Madrid in August 2005.

However, injuries, and in particular the knee ligament damage he suffered on England duty at the 2006 World Cup finals, severely limited his contribution.

Amid a chaotic period in the club's history, he turned down the offer of a contract extension at St James' Park and ultimately was unable to prevent the club slipping out of the top flight at the end of the 2008-09 season, after which he was part of a player exodus.

O'Neill worked hard all summer to strengthen his attacking options, investing heavily in the services of strikers Steven Fletcher, who scored both goals in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Swansea, and Louis Saha as well as winger Adam Johnson.

However, Fraizer Campbell and youngsters Ji Dong-won, Connor Wickham and Ryan Noble represent the back-up and the temptation to add experience is perhaps understandable.

Doncaster v Portsmouth: Amazing late show sends Donny down

Doncaster 3 Portsmouth 4: Amazing late show from Pompey gives them hope but sends hosts down to League One

By
Sportsmail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

17:02 GMT, 14 April 2012

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UPDATED:

17:04 GMT, 14 April 2012

Portsmouth somehow kept their Championship survival hopes alive with two goals in the final moments on a dramatic afternoon at the Keepmoat Stadium to relegate 10-man Doncaster.

Substitute Marco Futacs struck an injury time winner just seconds after Dave Kitson had appeared to handball over the line to draw his side level.

It was harsh on Rovers who had been in control after Habib Beye and Fabien Robert netted in the opening five minutes but a chaotic game turned on the questionable dismissal of Beye on the hour.

Delight: Portsmouth players celebrate after a dramatic late Marko Futacs winner

Delight: Portsmouth players celebrate after a dramatic late Marko Futacs winner

Kitson fell theatrically under
pressure from the veteran Senegalese to give away a penalty that Greg
Halford netted before converting a second spot-kick moments later drew
his side level.

The drama continued though as James
Coppinger immediately fired Doncaster ahead, which would have kept
Rovers up and relegated Pompey, until a barely believable finish that
left the home fans hooting their disapproval at the end.

By contrast the few hundred
travelling Pompey fans remained singing after the whistle having avoided
what would have been the latest sorry chapter in their recent history.

MATCH FACTS

Doncaster: Woods, O'Connor, Friend, Lockwood, Beye, Oster (Hird 59), Barnes, Gillett, Coppinger, Brown (Dumbuya 73), Robert (Hayter 46).

Subs not used: Sullivan, Bennett.

Portsmouth: Ashdown, Ward, Rocha, Pearce, Halford, Rekik (Futaks 76), Allan, Norris, Varney (Harris 46), Etuhu (Kitson 26), Maguire.

Subs not used: Mokoena, Scapuzzi.

Referee: Russell

Attendance: 8.196.

Boss Michael Appleton vowed that his
side would not give up until relegation was assured, which had looked
likely following a disastrous opening five minutes.

Only three minutes had passed when
Beye netted the opener, rising highest to meet a free-kick and loop his
header over goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.

A stunned Pompey were 2-0 down
moments later when Robert stabbed home from close range after John
Oster's initial effort had been blocked by Ashdown.

The travelling support behind the
goal responded with ironic celebrations although their good humour was
almost tested again on seven minutes when Coppinger's dipping 25-yard
volley smacked against the crossbar.

Portsmouth's response to the early
onslaught was underwhelming as a hopeful 20-yard David Norris shot was
the best they could muster before Appleton decided on a change of
formation after 28 minutes.

He brought on striker Kitson for
winger Dickson Etuhu and it almost paid immediate dividends as Halford
saw his firm header cleared off the line moments later.

A Beye header then tested Ashdown
again at the other end, the goalkeeper this time punching for a corner,
before Robert fizzed a pass across goal that no one was in a position to
turn in.

Despite Pompey's predicament their
few hundred travelling fans remained in full voice and they cheered
louder still when news filtered through that Bristol City had taken the
lead at Birmingham, to confirm they would go down with anything but a
win.

With that threat looming likely
Portsmouth finally showed signs of life soon after half-time with Scott
Allen firing against the crossbar from range before Luke Varney drew a
low save from an acute angle.

The visitors were then given a
hotly-contested penalty on 57 minutes when Kitson fell theatrically
under pressure from Beye, who was then also given his marching orders
for denying a scoring opportunity.

The veteran Senegalese protested the decision but once he left the pitch Halford tucked in the spot-kick.

The home fans clearly felt aggrieved
at the decision and their mood was hardly helped when the referee
awarded a second penalty against James O'Connor moments later. Again
Halford scored the spot-kick, despite Gary Woods getting a hand on the
ball.

Portsmouth may have been lucky to be
level but it lasted just four minutes as Coppinger netted a fine solo
goal. After being released down the right he cut inside and fired a low
shot that took a deflection as it went through the legs of a defender to
ensure Ashdown was wrong-footed.

Doncaster then set about holding onto
their advantage, which would have kept their slim survival hopes alive,
but with time ticking down they conceded a third dubious goal when
Kitson appeared to handball over the line.

It got better for Pompey in injury
time when Futacs popped up in the area and slid in a winner in to send
Doncaster down after four years in the Championship.