English Premiership

Benitez eyes another 'top side'

2013-04-03 17:13
Rafael Benitez (AP)

London - Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez says he hopes to find a leading club to employ him when he leaves Stamford Bridge at the end of the season and has suggested he would prefer to stay in England.

The Spaniard has struggled to win over Chelsea's fans since being appointed to succeed the popular Roberto Di Matteo in November, but he has guided the team to the quarter-finals of the Europa League and the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

However, last season's Champions League winners face a battle to qualify for next season's tournament, with Arsenal having closed to within two points of their position in the fourth and final qualifying berth.

Benitez revealed in February that he will definitely leave the club at the end of the campaign but he says he will only be content if Chelsea fulfil their objectives over the season's final weeks.

"If we can achieve trophies and finish in the top three, fantastic. Everybody will be happy. That is my aim at the moment," he said.

On the subject of his own future, the former Liverpool manager added: "I like to win, to challenge for trophies. I would like to stay in a top side. A top side, why not in England?"

Benitez also addressed criticism about his squad management from former Chelsea captain and assistant coach Ray Wilkins.

Wilkins believes Ashley Cole would not have injured his hamstring in the FA Cup victory over Manchester United on Monday had he not been rested by Benitez in Saturday's league game at Southampton.

Benitez, however, suggested Wilkins's remarks must have been an April Fool's Day joke.

"April 1. You cannot take the comment seriously. It was April 1," he said.

"I have a degree in sports science from Spain. It's the first time ever I've heard something like this. April 1."

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