Feb 28 2013 By Dan Levene
RAFAEL Benitez's disastrous 'interim' role this morning appeared all but over after the Spaniard unleashed an incrimination-laden rant blaming Chelsea fans and Roman Abramovich for any failure to qualify for the Champions League.
In an incredible series of post-match pronouncements at Middlesbrough on last night, Benitez lambasted as 'a mistake' the decision of Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner to name him 'interim', and told the fans they were 'wasting their time' complaining.
In a 13-minute blast, where the former Liverpool man seldom paused for breath, he placed the blame for Chelsea's poor form almost anywhere but at his own feet.
He began: “I have been in charge of football for 26 years. I won the Champions League, I won the (club) World Cup, FA Cup, the Spanish League twice. Nine trophies here.
“So I think a group of fans – they are not making any favours for the team when they are singing (songs against me) – are wasting time.
“Just because someone made a mistake - they put my title 'interim manager'. I will leave at the end of the season, so they don't need to waste time with me.”
He continued: “It doesn't matter what they say. I am a professional, I have experience, I will do my best.
“If they carry on with this agenda, they are damaging the club, they are damaging the team. And in the next year, if we cannot achieve the top four, they have to take a little bit of responsibility.”
Having blamed the fans, Benitez then turned his sights on club owner Abramovich saying: “I have a title. Someone decided the title would be 'interim'.
“Why I don't know, just in case you want to blame me for everything that is wrong?
“And then they say: 'We will put 'interim' just in case.' Fine – obviously your decision. I don't agree with it, but it's your decision. But now everybody has to take responsibility."
The rant left Chelsea with a manager who, by criticising the fans, had raised the heat on himself ahead of a crunch home game against West Brom – the team that has done for the last two Chelsea bosses.
And it left Benitez, citing a need to calm the home atmosphere for the good of the team, awaiting relief from an untenable position.