Benitez keeps counsel over Mourinho
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2013
Rafael Benitez refused to respond to Jose Mourinho's desire to be loved as speculation intensifies that the self-titled 'Special One' is poised to return to Chelsea.
Interim boss Benitez was repeatedly asked about Real Madrid boss Mourinho's comments, when the Portuguese declared "I want to be where people love me to be", immediately heightening suggestions a return to Stamford Bridge was imminent.
"It's not my business," said Benitez when asked if he would like to succeed Mourinho at the Bernabeu ahead of the Europa League clash with Basle. "I have to concentrate on my business, that is to beat Basle tomorrow."
Repeatedly Benitez declined to comment, preferring to focus on the clash with the Swiss champions as Chelsea, who lead 2-1 from the first leg, bid to advance to the May 15 final in Amsterdam. He said: "It's not my business. I have to concentrate on this game. That's it. I think it's quite important."
Benitez refused to bite when asked whether it was disrespectful for Mourinho to comment on a job which is currently occupied, albeit temporarily.
"Each one (person) has his way," he said. "My way is concentrate on the next game, that's it."
The Europa League is one of two remaining targets for Chelsea; the other is qualifying for next season's Champions League by finishing in the Barclays Premier League top four.
Asked how necessary it is for Chelsea to reach the competition they won in 2012 in order to attract a leading manager, Benitez said: "It was important before and it's important now. "We know it's our priority and we'll try to do it. I like to think in a positive way. We will be there."
Like his manager, Juan Mata declined to comment on Mourinho.
"It's not our business or the players' business right now," the Spain forward said. "We just have to be focused about what we're playing for, which is a very important trophy for the club, to be third in the league and try to play in the Champions League. That's it. That's all I can say."