Benitez lashes out at Chelsea fans
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has claimed he has an excellent relationship with owner Roman Abramovich after his rant against some of the Blues' fans following their 2-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough on Wednesday.
Benitez heavily criticised a section of the Blues support and also hit out at the club's decision to give him the title of 'interim manager'.
Indeed, his criticism sparked suggestions his tenure in charge could come to an end ahead of the weekend, but the Spaniard told the BBC Football Focus host Dan Walker that he would stay until May.
"My relationship with the owner is really good,'' Benitez said. "Every time I talk to Abramovich about football, I enjoy (it). I know that he wants to win. I'm here because he wants to win and I will try to do my best until the last day.
"The relationship is fine. I don't have any problem with anyone. I have conversations with Michael Emenalo, the technical director, every single day. He watches the training sessions, we talk about football and when I meet Roman Abramovich, we talk about football. We talk like normal people. We share a passion for football.''
Reports of dressing room unrest, including a dispute with captain John Terry, have been played down and Benitez is adamant there are no major concerns.
"My relationship with the staff, the people at Cobham, is really good, fantastic,'' he added. "The players are fully behind our ideas, 100%.''
Benitez also repeated his wish for the fans to support his team through their difficult period.
"I wanted to express my ideas,'' added Benitez, whose side still remain in contention for the FA Cup and Europa League. "Everybody knows that I will finish my contract at the end of the season.
"So I think that this group of fans, singing, creating banners or whatever, they have to concentrate on supporting the team. The majority of the fans they know it's really important to finish in the top four, top three, to be sure that you will play in the Champions League next year.
"I'm thinking about my team, I'm thinking about my club. At the moment what I want to do is to win every game. The way to help the team is to support the players every single game, at home, I think it will be easier for us to achieve what we want to achieve.''
Benitez took training at the club's Cobham base on Thursday morning and looks set to be in charge for Saturday's Premier League clash with West Brom after the club maintained it was "business as usual'', although the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge and taunts towards Benitez could be more toxic than usual.
In 27 matches, Benitez has 14 wins and a victory percentage of 52%, which - alongside Villas-Boas - is the poorest start of any of the nine managers in the Abramovich era.
Whoever replaces the Spaniard will become the 10th manager in 10 years under Abramovich, with Manuel Pellegrini favourite for the job this summer.
Brighton manager and former Blues midfielder Gus Poyet, however, has welcomed his link to the job of Chelsea boss
"That's my aim. Everybody knows. I don't hide it," he said. "I want to go to the highest level and if it's the Premiership and it's Chelsea, fantastic. I like the speculation because it means we are doing something right. But it doesn't change my life at the moment.''