In the end, Chelsea interim coach Rafael Benitez finally received somerecognition from the club’s supporters, while legend Frank Lampard finally got the contract extension he’s been waiting for all season long after Chelsea lifted the UEFA Europa League trophy on Wednesday. Branislav Ivanovic’s 93rd-minute header lifted the Blues passed Benfica, 2-1, earning the trophy for Chelsea and for Benitez, who has been looking for some form of vindication since his appointment as interim manager in late November.
After the game, Benitez once again underlined how difficult the job has been. "I think it's sad to say this, but to do your job in six months, it changes nothing if you win or lose the final in terms of what we were trying to do,” the Spaniard said. “The job was done with all the hard work on the training ground. We were trying to do our jobs as professionals and, in the end, we have a trophy. But we had worked hard whether we won this or not."
When asked whether he had heard the Chelsea fans applauding him when he lifted the trophy, he would only say: "I'm quite happy, pleased because we were working so hard during the season."
Meanwhile, Chelsea on Thursday confirmed that Frank Lampard has signed a one-year contract extension at Stamford Bridge. Lampard’s future had been a question mark all season, with the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS floated several times as a possible destination for the player, whose current contract expires June 30.