An Open Letter to Chelsea Interim Manager Rafa Benitez

Subject: An Open Letter to Chelsea Interim Manager Rafa Benitez
From: Joe
Date: 23 Jun 2015

Dear Rafa,

I'm writing to you today just weeks after writing to your brutal boss Roman Abramovich (it still amazes me that he thought you were more than an apt replacement for our legendary Roberto Di Matteo) and I'd like to notify you that I will be praying for the club to decide against extending your contract when the summer comes.

I thought I'd bring to your attention the fact that the fans do not like you. The reason I'm doing this is only because you are either a) thick-skinned enough to simply ignore the boos that ring around Stamford Bridge or b) hard of hearing and therefore require a hearing aid.

Unlike many other Chelsea fans, I was quite satisfied to see you take the reigns at Stamford Bridge. Of course, I was still smarting from the manner in which Di Matteo departed, but equally, a coach with your credentials could help change around our season (although, if I'm being honest, third in the Premier League doesn't exactly spell 'crisis' does it?).

Your Champions League triumph in 2005 was magnificent, and you should still receive credit for what can only be described as the best comeback in Champions League Finals history. However, note the date. That was 2005, and we are now in 2013. Things change, and perhaps maybe you should think about changing your style of coaching.

Your first two results in charge were below par; and please do not try to convince me that two consecutive 0-0's are acceptable. At home to Manchester City, we were desperate for a win in order to catch up to our rivals and yet you decided to play defensively. I'm sorry, Mr Benitez, but that is not what Chelsea fans pay £70 a ticket to go and see every week.

Then there was the 3-1 defeat to West Ham. Certainly, the players must take responsibility for their part in a woeful second-half performance, but ultimately, your negative tactics when 1-0 up at half-time gave West Ham the belief to get back into their game. And believe it or not, they were our London rivals. And we do not like losing to our rivals.

The Club World Cup. A very encouraging display in the 3-1 semi-final win over Monterrey with Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres all in fine form. For the final against Corinthians, though, you decide to chop and change the team that barely broke a sweat in the semi-final.

And to omit the Brazilian players—who love this competition so dearly that they cried when we lost—from the starting lineup (Oscar, Lucas Piazon and David Luiz, who did play) well, that's just unforgivable. I can understand their frustration, especially when you decide to play the extremely average Gary Cahill who ultimately cost us the title. The end result? An easy chance for a trophy lost.

We were up 2-0 against Southampton, but your defensive tactics once again gave our opposition the determination to continue and—surprise, surprise—they got the two goals back to steal a point. Two points lost in the Premier League.

We lost 2-0 at home to Swansea in the League Cup semi-final, and although Branislav Ivanovic was at fault for both goals, the lack of creativity and attacking play that you instilled meant that we succumbed to another defeat without even scoring. More money down the drain for our fans. We know we can't win every game, but at least give it a go.

You didn't. Competition lost.

Drawing 0-0 at the Liberty Stadium in the return leg was again just not good enough. Opting to put on David Luiz, a defender, before Torres, a striker, when we needed goals was simply baffling. And the whole Eden Hazard incident? You handled that well, didn't you Rafa?

"They both made a mistake" ... "Do you not think we are disappointed with the situation?" (Daily Mail)

These are things you said to the press as you were clearly frustrated with a certain reporter. In situations like this, you need to keep your cool and support the player, and unfortunately, you failed. Player confidence lost.

And finally, in the FA Cup game against Brentford, one us fans at least expected a win from. But in our current form, and under your tenure, why would we be inclined to even think it would be a simple victory?

You waited a whole 74 minutes before making your first substitution (asides from swapping Mata for Marko Marin at the break) and once again, you made a like-for-like, defensive change (Azpilicueta for Ivanovic) when we were 2-1 down. Please explain why? Only four minutes later did you decide to throw on Demba Ba. And their link-up brought about the equaliser. Now, if only Ba and Torres were on the pitch together for a longer period of time...

Torres' goal was phenomenal, and that's the only factor of your appointment I can find to reason with. His 15 goals have finally silenced the majority of his critics, and I feel his confidence has increased due to your management. Under Di Matteo, he was improving but not by much. A chance to retain FA Cup? Now hanging in the balance.

My point is that you're not the right man to take the club forward, and the fact we're on course for a season without a trophy is entirely your doing.

With Pep Guardiola now with Bayern Munich, perhaps you think the job is yours to keep. But if I were you, I'd be keeping in cahoots with your pal at Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, because I feel 'The Special One' wants to make a remarkable return to Chelsea, and there's nothing you can do to stop him.

One tip before I leave you: be more attacking. Fans will never condemn you for being adventurous.

Yours Anxiously,