The Andy Gray Column: Rafa Benitez ‘no pressure’ statement ridiculous

Summary: ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to South West Londoner…


PRESSURE isn’t unique to the Chelsea job – it’s the same for any top job in English football – so Rafa Benitez’s statement there’s no pressure for him to get results is ridiculous.

If you have won ten in a row or lost ten in a row you are still under pressure to win matches – maybe not the same pressure, but it’s still there.

And Benitez is under pressure to win games and it is as simple as that. To have two points and no victories from three games in charge is nowhere near good enough if you’re Chelsea.

He’s coming in off the back of his first win in midweek which is obviously going to be a boost but they need to kick on from that. It wasn’t enough to qualify and there wasn’t anything he could do about it really with Juventus winning.

The match this weekend away at Sunderland is far more important for Chelsea than the game midweek. That’s not an easy game and I know they are struggling towards the bottom of the league but Sunderland are due a big performance and a win.

They won’t have it easy up there and Benitez will know how important a win is for him, there’s a few crucial games at a key time of the season and he will know just how important that is for Chelsea and for his job.

The two Manchester clubs are playing each other so maybe there is a chance for them to close the gap on them slightly and start making up some of this lost ground but it’s already looking like a big ask for them.

Fulham are in a similar situation to Chelsea at the moment in that they are not getting the results they need – their point with Benitez’s side was the only point they’ve earned in four games.

They started brightly and any team with Dimitar Berbatov in their side is going to be very tough to beat because he gives you that attacking edge up front that most teams lack.

They have quite an interesting spell coming up – they’re at home to Newcastle and then they face QPR, Liverpool and Southampton. There are two winnable games there for them and those games might well define their season because it is a crucial time to get wins.

Fulham can easily challenge for Europe this season, especially now they have Berbatov, if they get a run of form going.

But to do that they need to get out of the slide they are currently in. But I have a lot of faith in Martin Jol, he’s a good manager and he can get the job done.

He’ll need Berbatov firing on all cylinders and games against QPR and Southampton are perfect opportunities for him to get going.

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