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Will the curse of West Brom strike again?

After Rafa Benitez's outburst at fans and club's board, could the Chelsea boss follow fate of previous managers?
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2013 18:26
Benitez' contract with Chelsea expires at end of the season but there is already pressure mounting [GETTY]

The last two Chelsea managers have been fired after losses to West Bromwich Albion, so Rafa Benitez may live to regret the timing of his outburst at the club's board and fans this week.

Andre Villas-Boas left after a 1-0 loss at the Hawthorns in March last year, while a 2-1 defeat at the same stadium in November proved to be Roberto di Matteo's final English Premier League game in charge of the European champions.

The trend could well continue if Benitez's tirade on Wednesday fails to generate a positive reaction from his team and Chelsea's disgruntled supporters in Saturday's match against West Brom at Stamford Bridge.

"There's a big difference if you have everyone behind the team, pushing and pushing," Benitez said on Friday of his rant.

"I didn't have any problem with the board. I didn't have any problem with Michael Emenalo. I didn't have any problems with Roman Abramovich. I don't have a problem with the players"

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez

"That was my idea. The message is clear... What I wanted to do was the best for the team, the best for the club.

"If we stick together, it will be easier and we can get more points . I would like to see a fantastic atmosphere supporting the team."

Benitez said he had no regrets about speaking out so candidly after the FA Cup win against Middlesbrough, a decision that appeared to leave the Spaniard in a precarious position as his comments included criticism of the board for making his job title 'interim'.

"I didn't have any problem with the board. I didn't have any problem with Michael Emenalo (the technical director). I didn't have any problems with Roman Abramovich (the owner). I don't have a problem with the players," Benitez said.

"I have been for 26 years training and coaching and always I have had principles, respect and education."

Despite his pleas, Benitez is still likely to face a hostile reception from fans before and during Saturday's match.

Chelsea will provisionally climb above Tottenham into third place in the table with a win, as Spurs don't play Arsenal until Sunday.

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Source:
AP
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