Rafa Benitez is confident that he will receive a warm reception at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, after his short cameo as Chelsea manager during the 2012-2013 season.
The Spaniard was brought in to manage until the end of the season, after Roberto di Matteo was sacked in November, just six months after leading the Blues’ to Champions League glory, beating Bayern Munich in the final.
Despite only being in the job for six months, Benitez won the Europa League title with the club, and achieved a respectable third-placed finish in the Premier League.
He was replaced for the following season by the returning Jose Mourinho, but the former Liverpool boss feels that he was appreciated by the majority of the supporters. Benitez said;
I think the fans will be fine. The normal fans who you can find on the streets were okay with me.
When you go to the game, the rivalry between Chelsea and Liverpool changed things and the perceptions of some people. The majority of people realised I was doing a professional job.
We finished third, like Abramovich wanted, to qualify straight for the Champions League. We did it and we won the Europa League in the meantime. I think the fans will be happy with that.
It was really positive there. I have a lot of friends there, the staff was really good and the fans were fine.
I tried to take the positives out of things and those are that they realised we did our job until the end and more and we achieved what they wanted, which is fine.
Benitez’s side ended their four-game losing streak against West Brom on Tuesday evening, drawing 2-2 with the Gary Megson led Baggies.
Coming back from being 2-0 down, as well as turning in a decent first half display against Manchester United earlier in the month, gives Rafa hope that his side can cause Chelsea issues. He said;
Chelsea are a top side and it is difficult to go there and win. But we went to Old Trafford with a lot of confidence and we have to go there and try to do the same.
They will be there are the top of the table and hopefully we can go there and get some points.