x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Chelsea fans vent their frustration after 0-0 draw with Fulham

Rafa Benitez believes Chelsea can still clinch the Premier League title this season, despite watching his side struggle to a derby draw at Stamford Bridge.

Dimitar Berbatov and Fernando Torrez challenge for the ball during Chelsea's 0-0 draw with Fulham.
Dimitar Berbatov and Fernando Torrez challenge for the ball during Chelsea's 0-0 draw with Fulham.

Rafael Benitez has backed Chelsea to win this season's English Premier League despite a 0-0 draw with local rivals Fulham making it six games without a win.

Against another backdrop of jeers from the home support, the interim manager watched his side struggle to hold Fulham at bay which will have done little to win over fans.

By the end of a frustrating evening for supporters, they were back to chanting, "You're not welcome here", at Benitez and even, "We want our Chelsea back", in front of the watching owner Roman Abramovich, who looked as bored as anyone at Stamford Bridge.

But despite the result, Benitez insisted Chelsea had the quality to overhaul Manchester United and Manchester City and reclaim the Premier League trophy.

"Why can't we?" Benitez said defiantly.

"It's still a long way to go. We have to keep going. We'll have chances. Remember, last season when City were ahead and it was 'easy'. Then they needed to win their last game. It's a long, long competition."

However, the Spaniard admitted his new side was lacking in confidence following a run of two wins in 10 that threatens to wreck their season.

"The main thing is to win games," he said. "If we do, we'll be there and we can win competitions.

"We need to start doing that and the confidence will come back."

Chelsea could have fallen behind twice in quick succession inside 10 minutes, an errant offside flag rescuing them after Dimitar Berbatov perfectly timed his run on to Diarra's flighted ball, and Petr Cech saving from John Arne Riise following a flowing breakaway.

The European champions spent the closing moments camped in the Fulham box but, despite a succession of blocked shots and other near misses, could not force a breakthrough.

For all their pressure, Chelsea barely tested the opposition goalkeeper as they record two straight goalless draws for the first time since Roman Abramovich bought the club.

"You cannot be satisfied when you haven't won these games," said Benitez, whose two games in charge have been watched by the Russian.

"City are a top side, a team with a lot of options.

"Today, I saw a lot of positive things, sustaining the attacks and regaining the ball very high.

"I didn't like the two chances we gave away on the counter-attack, and when we didn't move the ball too quickly, but it's a question of time.

"We've only had a few training sessions. We need more time."

Fulham boss Martin Jol said: "Berbatov was almost unplayable and linked our play, and we had a few chances.

"After the game, everyone said Berbatov was fantastic, and he was, but the other players worked every so hard.

"At 80 minutes we had two possibilities," Jol said.

"I'm not disappointed to only get a draw away from home, but disappointed we didn't make more of those chances."

Jol played down the affect the subdued atmosphere may have had tonight.

"That could be a normal thing," he said.

"We played them here twice last year and had two draws, and a draw at home as well.

"We could have nicked it and that would have been bad for them and great for us."


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE