Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez believes Paolo Di Canio’s first game as a Premier League boss will take the spotlight off him for a change.
The Spaniard was perhaps speaking a little tongue-in-cheek at the suggestion that for once all eyes were on the opposition dugout for a Blues game at Stamford Bridge ahead of this afternoon’s clash between the two sides.
It is a well-known fact that Benitez has enjoyed a rough ride with the Chelsea supporters since taking over from Roberto Di Matteo earlier this season due to his previous comments about the club during his time in charge of Liverpool.
However, Di Canio’s appointment by the Black Cats last Sunday has also been greeted with a sense of disbelief in some quarters due to the Italian’s political views, and resulted in former Labour MP David Miliband resigning from his position on the Sunderland board.
Benitez said: “The attention is going to be all on him, so it will take a little bit of the attention off me for a change, but I’m not worried about the attention on me, just about my team.
“We need to stay focused and not be watching the other bench. We are playing Sunderland, not the manager. I don’t think the manager can make that much difference if they do not have the right players. It’s not about the managers. We need to talk about players and goals.
“I’ll tell you what I feel about the fascism row with Di Canio after the game. It depends how they play, then I will let you know my feelings.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to talk about football, lots of chances and lots of goals and after, maybe, you can talk about Di Canio. But for me the main thing is my team and our football, not him.”
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