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EP | 18/02/2013
Speaking on Spanish radio, Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benítez has discussed the possibility of taking over as manager of Spain after current national team coach Vicente del Bosque. The former Liverpool manager also spoke candidly about his experiences so far at Stamford Bridge.
While insisting that he is happy in West London, Benítez told the programme 'Radio Gaceta de los Deportes': "I don't rule out becoming the Spain coach, if and when Vicente decides to leave. It's something I would envision for further down the line, although to achieve that I have to continue in elite football and keep on doing well."
The Madrid-born coach, who side-stepped questions about a potential move to Real Madrid, maintained that he felt 'happy' at Chelsea despite the unfavourable chants aimed at him by sections of the home support due to his Liverpool past. "The biggest problem is that I was manager of Liverpool, and I'm paying for the success I had at Anfield. Nevertheless, I just continue working hard and focusing on being successful with Chelsea. All we can do is show complete dedication. When we win, there's no-one in the world happier than me."
The Spaniard, whose charges face Czech side Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday and face a crunch Premier League clash against champions Manchester City on Sunday, also touched on the difficulties of arriving at a team whose campaign was in tatters with half the season still to play. "When we arrived, the team was practically out of the Champions League, was slipping down the Premier League and had been given a hiding in the European Super Cup [Chelsea were beaten 4-1 by Atlético Madrid]. It was a team in transition and the results weren't good enough."
"The biggest difficulty has been having very little time to work with," said Benítez, citing the pile-up of European fixtures as a chief cause of this problem. "We have played the most games in Europe of any team this season. You want to work on tactical aspects but you have to rotate and rest players," he explained.
Despite such issues, the Chelsea boss is convinced that his side will improve and, most importantly, ensure qualification for next season's Champions League: "It's not going to be easy, but the team is looking good. In fact, we've now scored more than 100 goals and we are conceding fewer."