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Benitez: Sentimentality Disruptive to Chelsea's Evolution

  • Guardian, Wednesday, January 9, 2013 11:56 AM

Chelsea’s interim coach Rafael Benitez has warned players and supporters that being sentimental about “legends,” though understandable, can be disruptive to the natural evolution of a squad, which is necessary for a club to be successful. The “legends” Benitez is talking about include 34-year-old Frank Lampard, who will definitely depart the club this summer, 32-year-old Ashley Cole, who probably will (unless Chelsea backtracks on its policy of only offering one-year contracts to players over 30), and 31-year-old John Terry, who has 18 months left on his current contract and has yet to address his future.

"It's always easy to talk about the legends, and you have to have a lot of respect for them," Benítez said. "Everyone knows the legends have been here and what they have achieved but you have to see new players coming in. It's part of life. I can see the club is changing things for the future, thinking about being successful again. It's not just: 'Oh, we won [the UEFA Champions League] and that's it.' You have to keep winning and evolving as much as you can. That means you have to keep bringing in good new players.” The Spaniard, whose contract ends at the end of the season, added that turnover is an indication that the club is still ambitious

Chelsea may be ambitious, but former coach Andre Villas-Boas, who was fired by owner Roman Abramovich last March, criticized the club for being unable to commit to a long-term project. "There are no plans at Chelsea, it's results that rule," the Tottenham coach told The Sun. "There are times in football when it's easier to replace the coach. But when you embrace a project you believe in people. There was a commitment from Abramovich and his word was given. Yet there was a premature departure."

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