Chelsea need permanent boss to motivate players, says Martin Samuel on The Sunday Supplement

Last Updated: 03/02/13 11:58am

Benitez needs to shake 'temporary' tag

Martin Samuel says the lack of a permanent manager at Chelsea is at the root of their recent slump in form.

Rafael Benitez was named the Blues' interim boss earlier this season following the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo, but a string of poor results has left their fans - many of whom were sceptical of the appointment in their first place - feeling disgruntled.

Saturday's defeat to Newcastle came on the back of the disappointing midweek draw with Reading and a defeat to Swansea in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup and questions were asked about the Spaniard's future at the Sunday Supplement breakfast table.

Daily Mail journalist Samuel pointed out that Chelsea have enjoyed success under temporary managers in the recent past - they won the Champions League under Di Matteo last season and the FA Cup under Guus Hiddink in 2009 - but the lack of stability at the club may result in below-par performances from the players.

He said: "I can't see how you can make a guy interim manager and that's the problem straight away. Benitez is very touchy about the interim manager title and whenever anybody calls him the interim manager he would say 'no, I'm the manager'.

"But that's not the case. He can call himself what he likes but Chelsea would call him the interim manager.

"Once you've appointed a guy and basically said to the players this guy is probably not going to be here at the end of the season then what do you expect? You've given people a free pass.

"Last year Di Matteo was an interim manager and they won the European Cup, so I'm not saying it's fool-proof either way, but once it starts going wrong then players have got an excuse.

"If it had started going wrong under Di Matteo or under Hiddink then the players have got a free pass to say 'this guy's not going to be here, so I'll wait for the next one'.

"That's the problem with Chelsea, you can always wait the manager out because you know he's going to get the bullet sooner or later."

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has never been slow to sack managers, but Samuel does not believe Benitez will be shown the Stamford Bridge exit door.

The former Liverpool boss has signed a contract until the end of the season and Samuel says it would be "insane" to axe him before then.

He added: "I can't believe they would get rid of him before the end of the season because it would just be an act of such insanity.

"To be fair, if you're going for acts of complete insanity then that's the go-to club, so who knows?"