Chelsea malaise runs deep after West Ham comeback widens task, admits coach Rafael Benitez
Rafael Benitez concedes that the task of reviving Chelsea could turn out to be a bigger challenge than he had envisaged in the wake of his side’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham United.
After little more than a week in charge, Benitez has overseen two scoreless draws and an unexpected reverse that has left the club’s Premier League title ambitions severely dented.
That run has done nothing to get those supporters disgruntled by the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo and opposed to the appointment of Benitez onside, and the reaction of the visiting fans at Upton Park confirmed the strength of feeling against the new manager.
Benitez’s focus now shifts towards Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with Nordsjaelland, a game Chelsea must win if they are to have any chance of progressing to the knock-out stages of a competition they won last season.
To have any chance of securing victory against the Danish side, the interim manager must lift the spirits of a team that capitulated alarmingly against West Ham on Saturday after establishing a first-half lead.
Asked if he considered the job more challenging than he expected when he accepted the offer to replace Di Matteo until the end of the season, he said: “Could be. It’s a top side in the middle of the season, and things aren’t the best. We’ll try to improve things, but it will take some time.”