Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has confessed he is uncertain about his Stamford Bridge future. The ex-Liverpool boss was appointed to the position after club owner Roman Abramovich sacked Italian boss Roberto Di Matteo, in the wake of a 3-0 Champions League defeat to Italian champions Juventus at Turin. Di Matteo, a former Chelsea player, led the Blues to the FA Cup and Champions League trophies last season.
However, the ex-Liverpool and Valencia manager has had a horrible start to life in west London, with two draws and a defeat from his first three games in charge. Benitez is already struggling to win over the club's fans, who have refused to back his appointment, however temporary, on the basis of both his relationship with the Reds and the fact the Spaniard is associated with a more pragmatic style of football.
And the pressure on Benitez is now set to grow exponentially, after his side crashed to a 3-1 defeat at The Boleyn Ground, against Sam Allardyce's West Ham. The defeat means the reigning European champions are winless in seven Premier League games and have dropped further behind the two Manchester clubs at the top of the league. Chelsea are third, for now, with 26 points from 15 games, while champions Manchester City are second with 33 and their cross-town rivals, Manchester united, lead with 36 points.
''No, I am not 100 per cent. We didn't win today - that is the main thing," Benitez said after the weekend loss, adding, "I would say that it [his continuing as Chelsea manager] depends on the things that we can do on the pitch. So, if we improve on the pitch, it will be easier for everyone.''
The defeat was doubly disappointing because the away side started well, with Spanish playmaker Juan Mata opening the scoring after 13 minutes, in a move that had a brief moment of £50m signing Fernando Torres at his best. However, the Blues failed to capitalise on several good chances and were weak defensively, a combination that allowed former player Carlton Cole to equalise in the 63rd minute and Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga to combine in the final five minutes to seal an emphatic win.
"The first half we could score two or three goals, finish the game, and it would be totally different. We didn't do it. The second half, we didn't start well, they were on top of us and then we couldn't manage. It is difficult to explain when you are so good in the first half, how can you not manage in the second half? Benitez said, by way of explanation of the defeat.
Meanwhile, Allardyce appeared to have some sympathy for his opposite number, with the former Bolton Wanderers boss suggesting the club's fans should be supporting their manager rather than making his life more difficult.
You can't do it if the fans aren't behind you,'' he said, adding, "But the only way you can get the fans behind you is to win. If you're winning, the fans will always, always be behind you.