Rafa Benitez has claimed Chelsea’s fans are coming around to him as manager and believes a positive atmosphere will help the team.
Chelsea’s supporters have been antagonistic toward Benitez since the former Liverpool manager took over from Roberto Di Matteo.
But despite overseeing successive 0-0 draws in his first two outings at Chelsea, Benitez believes the club’s fans started to give up their criticism of him in the match against Fulham on Wednesday and the Spanish manager believes that is crucial if the team is to improve.
“I will try to do my best, from eight (in the morning) to eight (in the evening), I am around working hard here trying to improve things,” Benitez said.
“They (the fans) have to realise I will do my best for the club for them and for winning.
“As I have said before we have to do it together.
“The other day (against Fulham) they were a little bit better, more behind the team and that is the way it should be.
“The manager supports the team and if you support the manager it’s easier to achieve what we want to achieve.”
Chelsea will travel across London to take on West Ham on Saturday and Benitez has claimed it is important for his team to have a victory soon to prove they can challenge for the Premier League title this season.
“Chelsea are a top side and we have to prove that we are a top side on the pitch,” Benitez said.
“I think the fans will realise we’re trying to do this and hopefully they will be happy.”
Chelsea head into the game third on the table but without a win in five league matches.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce meanwhile dismissed suggestions of any lingering hostility between himself and former Liverpool manager Benitez, dating back to the former’s time in charge of Bolton Wanderers.
“It was a long time ago, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and I am just looking forward to the game,” Allardyce said.
“I don’t want to jump into that scenario, I am a bit bigger than that, I don’t want to go tit for tat.
“All I do is look to compete at a level going against not just Chelsea, but also against a man who has a real good record, to see if we can upset them.”