Benitez hints at Chelsea stay
Sun, 27 Jan 2013 08:56:00
Peter Odemwingie has accused West Bromwich Albion of 'stealing' his loyalty and says he should have handed in a transfer request 12 months ago.
The Nigerian striker wants to leave The Hawthorns before the window closes after being the subject of a failed bid from Queens Park Rangers, but saw a transfer request rejected on Friday.
He subsequently released a statement expressing his disappointment at the decision and has now fired off a second outburst on Twitter.
Odemwingie is thrilled to have captured the interest of Rangers boss Harry Redknapp and tweeted on Saturday night: "Best compliment I have ever received in my (career) as a player. manager like HR spending to bring me for mission "impossible"."
He also wrote: "Offer came, everybody knows.
"I ask club what they think ? Answer - not now. Maybe summer. I ask- or is it tactics to get more money? Answer- we have enough now there is no prise (price) for you. We need you.
"I say ok. What's the prise for summer ? We will tell you after the window closes.
"I say - I have served the club well and deserve at least to have a prise now so I can plan my probably last move in England.
"Don't want another summer window not knowing what will happen cos now I ll have to move my little son elsewhere. after all I have contributed to the clubs success last two seasons I hoped to at least get a low prise. Answer- talk later.
"Last season January window is when I should have handed in transfer request. Was one foot in Rubin Kazan - not for sale. Fulham. Not for sale. Newcastle. Not for sale. Wigan. Not for sale.
"Loyalty left 70 percent. the rest they stole out of my pocket thinking I was keeping money in there."
Odemwingie earlier on Saturday came under fire from some Albion fans after making clear his desire to leave.
He tweeted: "I can understand the reaction of few Albion fans on my desire to leave the club. Real reason? Cos they once doubted my commitment.
"Want to know why I wanted to quit top flight football last summer earlier than I wished to? They know at the club.
"Albion fans are not the only reason, but made it easier for me to decide to stay and try my best to forget about the disappointment.
"I succeeded in doing that. But it's not getting better.Before bigger disappointment comes one day, I better leave on a good note."
Adkins was relieved of his managerial duties nine days ago after taking the club to back-to-back promotions and 15th place in the Premier League, with his dismissal arriving two days after a 2-2 draw at Chelsea.
He was immediately replaced by Argentinean Mauricio Pochettino, with the general consensus being that Adkins had been harshly treated.
The Southampton fans certainly felt so and sang their former manager's name during the 0-0 draw with Everton last Monday, but Cortese stands by the move he made.
In an interview with Sky Sports News, he said: "Nigel and I, we always had a very good relationship, to the last second. It was very tough, not just for him but for me.
"To me, there's one time, which is right, especially if you are 100% convinced it is the right thing. Ultimately for the team it was the right thing, it was perfect timing
"It sounds harsh but it was for the benefit of the progress we want to achieve over the next couple of months and years. It's not only for today but for tomorrow."
Cortese has attracted criticism in the wake of the sacking, with Saints icon Matt Le Tissier accusing him of having an ego problem.
According to Cortese, though, everything he does is for the benefit of Southampton.
He added: "Maybe I need to sacrifice my popularity to get the right decision. If that's the case, I'm happy.
"I am a perfectionist. Some people say that's not good, but it helps the football club to keep attention to detail and not stand still."
On Le Tissier, a one-club man afforded hero status by the Saints fans, he said: "I don't even know him, he's never met me. Anyone in the past who is associated with the club is stirring negativity towards me should probably ask if it's beneficial for the club. I would not allow myself to judge someone I have never met."
On the future of the club, but as a whole and with Le Tissier, Cortese asked everyone to get behind his vision.
He said: "I'd like in the future, for the supporters to buy more into what we do as a club. Not players, managers or chairmen, the club.
"I am not excluding anyone. Anyone who has Southampton at heart has a place."
Benitez arrived at Stamford Bridge in November determined to land some silverware during his spell as interim manager.
But he has instead watched one piece after another slip from his grasp in the midst of a campaign in which Chelsea have competed on an unprecedented number of fronts.
Two trophies could vanish in the space of five days if they follow up Wednesday's Capital One Cup exit with an FA Cup fourth-round shock at Brentford on Sunday.
But despite no Chelsea manager having survived the axe at the end of a barren season since Roman Abramovich bought the club, Benitez claimed he should, and would, be judged by a different standard.
He said: "If you analyse all the managers, how many had pre-season here? Not me.
"How many managers have spent massive money here? Not me.
"How many managers have played in Japan in the middle of the season with some players injured and they had players in the African Cup of Nations? It is just only me.
"My conclusion is the reality is that if you put everything together and you will see why we are happy in the way we are doing things and the way the team is progressing."
Asked if he would like to stay on beyond the summer, Benitez said: "I like to be at a top side and Chelsea is a top side with great potential. So I think it's a great opportunity."
A permanent contract for the former Liverpool boss would go down like a lead balloon among the supporters who vehemently protested against his appointment.
Benitez was undeterred.
He said: "If we play a game like we played against Arsenal [last week], this is what every fan, everyone is expecting, a winning team with a winning mentality, attractive football, scoring goals and strong in defence."
Benitez also reined back from his recent admission that Chelsea were completely out of the Barclays Premier League title race, having closed to within 11 points of Manchester United.
"If you play two or three games in a row and you can win in the Premier League, what will happen? You never know," he said, promising a stronger challenge next season if he remained in charge.
Pointing out competing on an unprecedented eight fronts this season had stretched resources to the limit, he said: "I think this team has enough quality and the squad is a good squad.
"The circumstances this year were more difficult.
"If this club - which is a top, top side - continue doing things in the right way, they will always be challenging for trophies."
Benitez admitted Chelsea were two players short at present, with John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses on Africa Cup of Nations duty.
He insisted he was happy with his squad ahead of the closing of the transfer window but added: "Obviously, every manager wants a little bit more."
Benitez is preparing to rest some of his weary stars at Griffin Park, something that could put the FA Cup holders at risk of a shock against lower-league opponents.
The Spaniard knows all about those from his time at Liverpool, who suffered ignominious exits at the hands of Burnley, Barnsley and Reading during his six years in charge.
"We will try to win and avoid this situation but we know the cup is always dangerous and that anything can happen," he said.
A likely first start since November for fit-again captain John Terry would help prevent that.
"He is a key player for us and for the rest of the season," Benitez said, becoming the latest Chelsea boss to hail Terry as management material.
"We agree on a lot of things in football.
"We don't talk too much about tactics. But I have had players in the past who have been big names, who have not understood the game like him. He seems as though he understands.
"The way he treats the young players and takes care of them, it is quite possible he has the qualities to become a manager."