Rafael Benitez was booed off the pitch in Chelsea's recent stalemate against Fulham on Wednesday. Once again the Blues delivered a relatively lacklustre performance in which they failed to break down the Fulham defence, who were also missing Brede Hangeland. However, interim boss Benitez came out after the came and astonishingly claimed that: 'Chelsea can still win the league.'
The European champions were held to their second successive goalless draw in just four days, and find themselves trailing Manchester United by 7 points, just 14 games into the season.
But Benitez was quick to highlight the comeback that Manchester City made last season – with much fewer games than what the London club have. He said: “Remember last season when City were ahead and it was easy. Then they needed to win their last game. Its a long, long, competition. Can we still win it? Why not?.”
A rather bold statement from Benitez. Until last night, the only Chelsea boss under Roman Abramovich to not win either of his first two Premier League games was Avram Grant. Now, that’s not mocking the Israeli's campaign. After all, Grant led the Blues to a Champions League final as well as finishing just one point adrift of Manchester United in the Premier League title race.
Despite not booing Benitez before kick-off, they were back to jeering and baiting come the final whistle. As well as holding a minutes applause on the 16th minute mark in recognition of Roberto Di Matteo. Benitez replied to the irate behaviour of the Chelsea fans: “Everybody here is disappointed at the end. The fans need to realise to s support the team and support the manager is the best way to move forward and win games.”
Which is true. And Chelsea fans know it. However, feeling like they have been almost, betrayed, by Abramovich in the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo. The Stamford Bridge faithful are contempt in making their voice heard.
Ultimately, if Chelsea Football Club are to have a successful campaign, the fans need to get behind the team, behind Rafa Benitez and most importantly behind Fernando Torres. No doubt Manchester United and Manchester City will both drop points this season, and any realistic Premier League fan will know that 7 points is a feasible task for Chelsea.
No doubt the millions of Abramovich will come into effect come the January transfer window. With the Russian planning to embark on yet another window of exorbitant spending. The likes of Radamel Falcao and Marouane Fellaini will come in, in what will be one final act for Abramovich to over come the recent negativity of Chelsea fans.
Manchester City found themselves 8 points adrift of Manchester United last season. However with just two games remaining and a thrilling encounter at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City re-claimed top spot.
A lot can and will happen in a season of Barclays Premier League football. If the Chelsea faithful can show as much optimism as Rafa Benitez – the Spaniard could potentially lead them to a fourth Premier League crown, I'm sure of it.