Rafa Benitez will never be a popular figure at Stamford Bridge, and his ‘interim’ tenure as Chelsea boss will not be looked back upon too fondly.
From the start, you would have suggested to Roman Abramovich that he was ill-advised to appoint the former Liverpool boss, considering the history between the two clubs, but furthermore, choosing a figure so widely disliked to replace a club legend adored by the fans – Roberto Di Matteo – was always going to create an adverse reaction from the Chelsea faithful.
But now we near the end of the season, it has not become the catastrophic car crash of a year as many predicted upon the Spaniard’s original appointment. The Blues look set to finish up in the top four in the Premier League – an improvement upon last season’s final standing – and still have a good chance of lifting some silverware in the Europa League.
To cut Benitez some slack, and perhaps to create a more balanced account of his dramatic tenure, we’ve complied a list of five things Blues supporters should be grateful to the Spaniard for.