• Rafa’s future is in England, just not at Chelsea
    09:32 | 07/05/2013

    Rafael Benitez has been in a difficult situation from day one at Chelsea but if you look at the job he has done as a whole I think you have to say that it has been impressive.


    People will point to the fact that he lost the World Club Cup final and what looked to be on paper a relatively comfortable League Cup semi-final against Swansea. There was also the FA Cup exit, but I think he is a manager who needs time to stamp his style on things –not loads of time, but three or four months to implement his ideas. We are beginning to see his influence come through now.

    One of his key strengths is his ability to keep players fresh. He was criticised all the time at Liverpool for his rotation policy and for resting players but Chelsea have had what can only be described as a brutal fixture pile-up over the past few months, yet somehow he has managed to keep all their players available. They are all playing well, they look full of energy and you have to give the manager credit for that.

    They are in the Europa League final and I think they will finish third in the Premier League – so under the circumstances, I think he has done an exceptional job.

    The Manchester United match was not one for the neutrals but that just shows another thing that Rafa’s teams are good at – even when his sides are not playing well, they stay in the game and they don’t lose their shape. The first thing they do is make sure they don’t lose the game and that gives them a chance to nick it like they did on Sunday.

    United took a few chances with their starting XI but even bearing that in mind, not many teams win at Old Trafford, so it was an impressive victory for Chelsea.

    Having said all that, I still feel it is impossible to see Benitez at Chelsea next season. I would have fully expected the fans to have laid off him by this stage – but that hasn’t been the case.

    The Chelsea fans have a new toy with all these Jose Mourinho rumours and are spending a lot of their energy singing his name.

    So it just doesn’t look like the right place for Rafa but he has done his CV no harm these last few months and that’s fair enough – all he can do is look after number one.

    If you look at Rafa’s short spell in Italy and the time he spent in between jobs, I think he now realises that the place that’s really suited to his managerial style is the Premier League.

    On first glance there may not be too many potential jobs out there for him but that could change pretty quickly. There are always going to be managers in the hot seat. You can’t tell me that Alan Pardew at Newcastle is not under pressure, for example, and then there is the unresolved situation of David Moyes at Everton.

    Rafa’s links to Anfield might make the Everton job a near impossible option – but I do think there will be other positions out there that could suit both Rafa and the club in search of a manager.


    The other big talking point from the game at Old Trafford was David Luiz’s reaction after being fouled by Rafael in an incident that saw the United full-back get sent-off.

    Luiz was caught by the cameras laughing on the ground and I admit that as I watched it live I instantly thought: “I don’t like that.”

    However, then when you think about it, he’s on the ground smiling before a red card has been shown, he’s not laughing or winking, thinking he has got a man sent-off.

    I look at David Luiz and I see an inoffensive character – he plays on the edge at times but I don’t think he is a bad guy and I just can’t buy that he was lying on the floor thinking: “I’ve got what I want from this situation, as Rafael is about to get sent-off.”

    I refuse to believe that is why he was laughing – there is a culture of anger in football at the moment and people always look to jump to the worst conclusions. They want to believe he was laughing because he got Rafael sent-off but I just think he was looking at the fans, having a little smirk and thinking that his side were about to secure a great win.

    He might have even been smiling, thinking ‘why did Rafael do that?’ – because it was a ridiculous challenge.

    According to Yahoo

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