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Benitez deserves time, says Hernandez

Swansea midfielder Pablo Hernandez believes Chelsea supporters should be willing to give Rafael Benitez more time to settle at the club.

Hernandez was part of Valencia’s youth setup when Benitez brought the Spanish title to the Mestalla.

The winger believes the 52-year-old could bring glory to Stamford Bridge, if the fans are patient.

Hernandez told reporters: “Rafa is a King in Valencia and the people love him there because he won three important titles. They haven’t won anything since.

“It’s difficult because on the first day people wanted Rafa out. The fans are passionate, but he needs more games. He has brought in new players and people should judge him after more games.

“In the past, Rafa has been a good coach in La Liga and the Premier League. He won the Champions League for Liverpool. But people at Chelsea are not used to Rafa.”

Swansea face Chelsea on Wednesday in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final and Hernandez has pin-pointed former Valencia team-mate Juan Mata as the man to stop.

“Mata is a big friend of mine. He was my room-mate at Valencia for two years. We used to eat lunch and dinner together too,” Hernandez said.

“He’s a good player and I’m happy that I can play against him and Chelsea. I remember Juan missed the Premier League game against us because he was injured. But he is an important player for Chelsea.

“He won’t be easy to stop, but I have confidence in the Swansea defence.

“Chelsea have a lot of big players and we also have to be wary of (Fernando) Torres and new signing (Demba) Ba. But Mata is a player we need to stop.”

Wed 9 January, 2013
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