Benitez finally crosses the Bridge with tough-to-please fans
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Chelsea's free-scoring form is slowly chipping away at the enmity toward new manager Rafa Benitez from the club's fans. The 8-0 demolition of Aston Villa last week showcased Chelsea's attacking prowess, and dispelled some of the fears about the dour football Benitez could introduce after replacing Roberto Di Matteo at Stamford Bridge last month.
"There won't be one of our fans watching who didn't enjoy the performance and hopefully we can continue,'' Chelsea defender Gary Cahill said. "The manager said he is going to keep working hard and as players that is what we try to do, and I am sure we will win people over with performances like that.''
The club record-equaling league win on Sunday was secured despite being Chelsea's fifth match in 15 days. Now the team has another five games to negotiate in 15 days during the Christmas-New Year program, starting Wednesday at Norwich.
Norwich embarked on a 10-match unbeaten run after losing at Chelsea in October, including wins over Manchester United and Arsenal, but was beaten by West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
Sitting third, Chelsea could be back in the title race if the resurgence continues. While seven points behind Manchester City and 11 adrift of Manchester United, Chelsea has a game in hand after beating Villa to end a stretch of more than two months without a home win in the league.
Most importantly for Chelsea, Fernando Torres has been rejuvenated under fellow Spaniard Benitez, who first brought him to England when he was in charge at Liverpool. The striker has netted seven goals in his last six games, all under Benitez, having scored only seven in the opening four months. David Luiz is another player who is thriving under Benitez.
Chelsea's mission is to keep the confidence flowing through the team just as it did in the early weeks of the season when they topped the standings.