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BENITEZ WILL NOT SPLASH THE CASH

NO CASH: Rsafael Benitez

NO CASH: Rsafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez has admitted he did not think Chelsea would give him any more money to spend before the transfer window closes.

Interim Blues boss Benitez confirmed last week he had told owner Roman Abramovich that his squad was not strong enough to cope with the unprecedented fixture pile-up facing them this season.

But he appears to have given up hope of being allowed to add to the January signing of Demba Ba before tomorrow’s transfer deadline.

Asked if he anticipated any movement in the final 48 hours of the window, he said: “I don’t think so but my job is to improve my squad and manage the situation we have.”

Abramovich and the board’s reluctance to back Benitez in the transfer market will reinforce the view that he has become a dead man walking at Stamford Bridge just over two months after succeeding Roberto Di Matteo.

It is understood there is currently no prospect of him losing his job before his contract expires this summer but reports persist that the club are already actively discussing replacing him next season.

Benitez shrugged off the speculation, which has included Everton boss David Moyes being linked with his job.

“My position is exactly the same,” he said, confirming he had held talks with technical director Michael Emenalo in the wake of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round draw at Brentford.

“I was speaking about football with Michael Emenalo, as normal.

“I will try to do my job as well as I can, and try to do my best every game.”

Benitez gave his strongest indication yet last week that he would like to stay on beyond the summer, something that would go down like a lead balloon with many supporters.

It emerged yesterday that an online petition calling for him not to be considered for the job full-time had already succeeded in attracting the 2,500 signatures it originally targeted.

Benitez refused to be drawn on the petition, which accused the club’s board of riding “roughshod” over supporters’ wishes by sacking Di Matteo and appointing Benitez in his place.

Subverting Benitez’s infamous “facts” rant from his time at Anfield, the petition listed Chelsea’s failures since he took charge, including the surrendering of two trophies, inconsistent Barclays Premier League form and “baffling” tactics.

It urged Abramovich to turn to a “popular and successful manager who the fans, players and board can all unite behind once again”.

At least Benitez has not had to contend with a mutinous squad, which ultimately led to the downfall of more than one of his predecessors.

There has been no obvious sign of dissent from within, with players also publicly backing him.

“You can talk with players and they are quite happy in terms of what we’re doing in training, how we’re preparing,” Benitez said.

“When everyone’s here and we can manage in a different way, it’ll be easier to win games in a row as we did before.”

For now, he must still do without Petr Cech, David Luiz, Eden Hazard, John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses ahead of tonight’s Premier League game at Reading.

The failure of Cech to recover from a calf problem is a particular blow considering Ross Turnbull’s troubles at Griffin Park on Sunday.

 

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