Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas admires record of ex-Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez

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Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas insists he has no problem with Rafael Benitez, despite reports the former Liverpool manager is being lined up as his replacement.

Villas-Boas’ position at Stamford Bridge looks to be in some doubt, after Tuesday’s 3-1 Champions League defeat to Napoli put the club in very real danger of failing to even come close to winning a trophy – or securing another season of Champions League football – in the Portuguese’s first year in charge.

Reports surfaced this week that the club had sounded out Benitez – who has been out of football for over a year after leaving Italian side Inter Milan – about potentially succeeding Villas-Boas as manager, but the current incumbent in west London insists he harbours no ill-will towards the Spaniard regardless of the veracity of those reports.

“It would be an honour for me [to meet Benitez],” Villas-Boas said. “I have no problem with that. We share a common friend but I have never met him.

“We were going to have dinner three or four months ago but we didn’t. It would be fantastic to have dinner with him. He is one of the most successful managers in world football.”

Chelsea must now focus on securing fourth in the Premier League – they currently sit fifth, albeit level on points with Arsenal. After a difficult season, the manager admits that teams are no longer scared to come to Stamford Bridge – a state of affairs he believes makes life harder for him.

“There is no fear factor at the Bridge,” Villas-Boas said. “I don’t know if there ever was. There is a fear factor at a couple of grounds in this country – Anfield and Old Trafford. It was a difficult place to come under Jose Mourinho but there is no fear factor of emotion.”


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