His appearance before kick-off was greeted with widespread booing and there were chants against him throughout.
"I was just concentrating on the game," he said.
"I was not paying attention to anything else. When the fans are singing I don't understand what they say. I can understand the rivalry of the fans but I am professional and want to do my best for the club.
"It wasn't easy; hopefully the next time will be easier."
Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, said there was only one way for Benitez to get the fans onside. "Win, win, win, win, win, win…" he said.
"It's no secret," Benitez agreed. "It's true."
There was no booing at the final whistle but that might have been less down to any softening of attitude than relief that a desperately bad game had at last come to an end.
A month ago, Chelsea were probably the most watchable team in the country. Nobody could accuse them of that now. This was desperately scrappy and dull.
Benitez's plan to win popular support is simple. "Working hard, doing my best, winning games," he said.
"If we start winning games they will come on board. The manager wants to win every game and the fans the same so we will win together.
"The main thing is that if the players are focused it will be fine. Some of the fans will realise it's not the way to support your team."
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