Chelsea: Rafael Benitez unfazed by Pep Guardiola talk

 

Fifa Club World Cup final: Chelsea v Corinthians

  • Venues: International Stadium, Yokohama
  • Date: 10:00 GMT, 16 December

Coverage: Live coverage of the final (BBC Two/HD/online), and live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Rafael Benitez says he would happily hand over the job of managing Chelsea to Pep Guardiola at the end of the season - as long as he has helped the club win trophies before then.

Benitez took over on an interim basis from Roberto Di Matteo in November.

The ex-Liverpool boss wants the post long-term, but the Blues are known to admire former Barcelona boss Guardiola.

Benitez v Guardiola titles

  • Rafael Benitez - La Liga (2), Uefa Cup (1), FA Cup (1), Community Shield (1), Champions League (1), Super Cup (1), Supercoppa Italiana (1), Club World Cup (1) Total 9
  • Pep Guardiola - La Liga (3), Copa del Rey (2), Supercopa de Espana (3), Champions League (2), Super Cup (2), Club World Cup (2) Total 14

"If he comes and we've won a lot of trophies, I'll be very pleased," Benitez told the BBC's Richard Conway.

"Guardiola has a fantastic record."

After deciding to take some time out after winning his 14th trophy in four years as Barcelona coach in May, Guardiola has been linked with a number of clubs, among them Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

"Everybody is talking about Guardiola - Guardiola this, Guardiola that - but Guardiola is just one man, he can go to just one club," said Benitez, who was speaking in Japan ahead of Sunday's Club World Cup final against Brazilian side Corinthians.

When asked how he would feel if Blues owner Roman Abramovich asked him to leave at the end of the season, the Spaniard said: "When I decided to come, I knew I was signing a contract for six or seven months, so I was not thinking about more after these seven months."

Benitez has had a hostile reception since taking over at Stamford Bridge, but the 52-year-old believes he can win over fans.

"After the improvement of the team, the way I will play [and] the style I will have, I think a lot of fans will say: 'Maybe we were too hard and we have to give him the chance to bring the confidence back to the team and the fans'," he said.

Meanwhile, Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard says he feels he has "two or three years at least" left as a top-level footballer.

The England international, 34, has had an injury-hit season and made only his second appearance since recovering from a calf problem when he came off the bench against Monterrey on Thursday.

I feel like I have two or three years at least in me at the top level

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard

Lampard, who spent 11 seasons at Stamford Bridge, is out of contract at the end of the season and has failed to agree an extension.

"I feel like I have two or three years at least in me at the top level," he said. "It is not for me to decide on this one. It's up to the club.

"Whatever happens, I have had a great time at Chelsea. I am determined to play a few more years and see what pans out in the near future.

"Maybe things don't last forever. Although I want it to last forever, you have to be big enough to know what it is."

When asked about Lampard's future at the club, Benitez said: "It is a question for the next manager. For sure, he's a fantastic player, a great professional, there's no doubt about this.

"When I talk to the people in charge, they are telling me the same, so nobody has any doubt about his condition, his levels, his quality."