To paraphrase Marc Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: They came to bury Benitez, not to praise him.
There might not have been any togas, sandals or blood-splattered daggers on show at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but make no mistake, the home crowd gave Rafa Benitez a right good kicking during the Blues’ ultimately nervy 1-0 win against a lacklustre West Brom.
Following his now infamous post-match interview with Radio Five Live at Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, during which he criticised Chelsea fans for their hostile reaction to his appointment as interim manager last November, Benitez would have expected a rough reception from the home support.
That’s exactly what he got.
The Blues fans were noisy throughout the game, directing their ire at the man in the Chelsea dugout from time to time. They were also chanting in favour of Jose Mourinho and getting behind their team which, in truth, should have won more easily given their dominance in the first hour.
In the end, however, the Blues were indebted once again to goalkeeper Petr Cech, who pulled off a number of fine saves in the final minutes as Chelsea clung on to their one-goal lead, which was given to them in the first half by Demba Ba.