Register Login Scores

International

Rafa Told Top-Four Or Bust

Rafa Benitez has been told to put all his eggs in Chelsea’s Premier League basket, in a do-or-die effort to finish the season in a top-four position.

The Spaniard was given his remit by Chelsea’s technical director, Michael Emanalo, who was acting as go-between for club owner, Roman Abramovich.

The conversation took place after Chelsea’s elimination from the Capital One Cup at the hands of Swansea, and their near death experience in the FA Cup at Brentford.

Benitez was told in no uncertain terms to prioritise a top-four finish, rather than worry about progress in the FA Cup or Europa League.

Chelsea need a Champions League spot next season for financial reasons, as well as to entice Rafa’s potential replacement.

After Pep Guardiola spurned Abramovich’s come-hither glances, the Russian turned his attentions to a high-profile list of second choices.

Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Michael Laudrup and David Moyes are all on Roman's radar, and most of them could make Champions League football a clincher if they are approached.

And so Benitez- who is safe in the Stamford Bridge hot seat for now, in spite of Chelsea’s inconsistent results and the ongoing near fan revolt- accepts fourth place is his single Blue ambition.

 "All I can say is what I know: I have had meetings," Benitez said.

"We were talking about the situation and it's clear for me the priority is the top four and progressing as much as we can in the other competitions. My position is exactly the same: I will try to do my job as well as I can. I cannot lose my focus.

"The players are quite happy with the ways we are doing things, so that is the most positive thing," Champions League winner Benitez added.

"If I saw my players in training without conviction, I'd be worried. But they're happy. In the last 10 days we had a fantastic game against Arsenal, not such a good game against Swansea, and a 50:50 the other day [at Brentford].

“At the end of the season we will see, but I have confidence in the team. The priority is the top four, very clear. But I will try and compete in the other competitions, too."

2 comments

Top 5

Mohomi: I Wasted Two To Three Years At Sundowns

106 Nov 19, 2020 12:10 PM in Mamelodi Sundowns

The Highest-Paid Player At Each EPL Club Revealed

6 Oct 26, 2020 07:15 PM in Cadbury

Downs’ Intentions Known To Resurgent AmaZulu

19 Nov 19, 2020 08:35 AM in PSL

Players Who Were Caught Age-Cheating

30 Nov 17, 2020 12:27 PM in World News

Chiefs Defender Leads List Of Suspensions

5 Nov 19, 2020 01:58 PM in PSL

Rest In Peace Anele Ngcongca!

163 Nov 23, 2020 09:42 AM in PSL

Nurkovic Dazzles As He Shows Off Model SA Bae

12 Nov 23, 2020 04:28 PM in Footballers & Chill

Katsande Buying Meat In His Chiefs Gear Goes Viral

20 Nov 20, 2020 01:30 PM in The Best Of The Rest

Another African Billionaire Eyes Arsenal Takeover

6 Nov 20, 2020 10:35 AM in English Premier League

In Pictures: Pitso Rallies His Troops Ahead Of Crunch Week

13 Nov 19, 2020 11:14 AM in Players Abroad

14 Footballers Who Have Degrees

28 Sep 16, 2020 08:30 PM in World News

Why Thibedi Has Not Gone Back To Chiefs

16 Nov 19, 2020 12:06 PM in Kaizer Chiefs

11 Footballers Who Went Broke

33 Jun 10, 2020 07:15 PM in World News

Pirates V SSU – It Will Be A High-Scoring Affair

12 Nov 19, 2020 02:44 PM in Orlando Pirates