Rafael Benitez is predicting a bright future for Chelsea as his spell as interim manager nears its conclusion.
The Spaniard guided Chelsea to a third-place finish in the Premier League and brought home the UEFA Europa League to cap a successful end to his reign.
And the 53-year-old was full of praise for the improvements the side made throughout the campaign, and believes that whoever takes over will inherit a top-quality squad.
“They’ve grown (this year) and they will be much better next season,” Benitez said.
“They have more experience and you can see the team was improving. Always in football you win trophies at the end of the season.
“You can not win them in the first month with a new team. You have to be patient but, in football, that’s more difficult.”
Benitez had a difficult job to win the support of the Stamford Bridge fans, who still held animosity towards him from his previous role as Liverpool manager.
But he insisted the focus was always on fulfilling his duties and felt he gained the respect of the majority of the supporters thanks to the side’s success.
“I was just thinking about
doing well in my own job and that’s all,” he added.
“You can analyse better than me but two semi-finals, a trophy and top three – everybody was saying ‘you have to do this or that’ and we did it.
“All I wanted to do was to do my job with a top side and to show people that we can still do well. The circumstances were special but still we did our job as best as possible, so I’m really pleased for everyone involved.
“I’ve said before a lot of fans supported me in the end. Maybe some of them couldn’t change their minds but we did our job and I hope everyone could enjoy it.
“We did what we had to – that’s the main thing.
“If you have a group of players who you’ve been working with for a while and they were doing so well, it’s sad to leave them.”