Rafael Benítez braced for baptism of fire as Chelsea host Man City

Chelsea boss Rafael Benítez is wary of the threat posed by Roberto Mancini's defending champions ahead of Sunday's showdown

rafael benitez
Rafael Benítez was unveiled to the media on Thursday evening Photo: The Sport Review

rafael benitez

Rafael Benítez is ready for a tough reintroduction to life in the Premier League as his Chelsea side prepare to welcome defending champions Manchester City to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Benítez was unveiled as the Blues’ new interim first-team manager on Thursday after Roberto Di Matteo was sacked by the west Londoners just hours after their Champions League defeat at Juventus.

The Spaniard’s first challenge will be to try and oversee a victory that would close the gap on Roberto Mancini’s table-toppers to just a point – but the former Liverpool boss needs no reminding of the quality of Sunday’s opposition.

“It is a tough first game, at the top of the table,” Benitez told Chelsea’s website. “They are a very strong team physically, but they have pace, ability.

“The strikers they can change, they have two they can change in who are as good as the first two. They have [David] Silva, [Samir] Nasri, [Yaya] Toure, who are all very dangerous, they are strong in defence and have a strong goalkeeper, so it is a tough, tough team to play against but OK, this is the Premier League, and when you want to compete and to win, it has to be against these teams.”

Reflecting on his first few days in charge of the west London club, Benítez added: “I am really pleased with the attitude of everyone.

“Everyone wants to help, and when you are someone new who needs to learn things it is good. All the staff, not just the coaching staff, have been really good.”

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