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'Roman Abramovich pleased with progress', says Rafael Benitez

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Updated 23 Jan 2013 08:17:10

'Roman Abramovich pleased with progress', says Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez insists Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is happy that progress is being made following his appointment as interim boss.

Since his appointment as Roberto Di Matteo's successor following the holders' elimination from the Champions League, ex-Liverpool manager Benitez has had to battle derision from fans. Abramovich is perhaps the hardest critic to satisfy, given his penchant for hiring and firing, but Benitez described talks following the 2-1 defeat of Arsenal as positive.

"We have people that talk with him and I have the information," Benitez said. "The other day I had time with him and he was really pleased. He was really pleased with the game."

He added: "He has ideas. I have ideas. We share ideas. We explained to each other what we're trying to do. It's fine."

During the Russian billionaire's Caribbean holiday, intermediaries communicated between Benitez and Abramovich, who returned from his break to watch the display at Stamford Bridge as the Blues moved 11 points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Chelsea were in contention for seven trophies at the start of the season and now it is three, including the Capital One Cup, where Benitez's side must overturn a 2-0 deficit at Swansea in the semi-final, second leg on Wednesday.

The Spaniard believes, following a challenging start, that Chelsea are moving in the right direction, although he admits his side could perform better.

He added: "In a transitional period - we have new players and some of them are at the end of their contracts - I think it's a team that is growing and is improving.

"As a manager you have to be satisfied with this. As a manager of a top side you want to win trophies; still we have to try to do better to win trophies.

"I think the priority for the club is to be in the top four and try to win trophies at the same time. If you talk with the players they say we're going in the right direction."


PA

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