Rafa goes for Bolo: New Chelsea boss Benitez brings in Zenden as assistant, says agent

"He was approached on Wednesday by Benitez and is now on a flight. I assume he will finish the season, just like Benitez," said his father

Former Chelsea winger Boudewijn Zenden is set to be the club's new assistant manager, his agent has claimed.

Rafa Benitez was appointed as the new manager at Stamford Bridge last last after Roberto Di Matteo was sacked, and it now appears the Spaniard has moved fast to bring in a new No 2.

Zenden, now 36, was on the books at Chelsea between 2001 and 2004, and later played under Benitez at Liverpool. This would be his first coaching role.

Zenden's father Pierre, who also acts as his agent told Voetbal International: "He was approached on Wednesday by Benitez and is now on a flight," he said.

"Since yesterday, he phoned Benitez many times.

"I assume that he will be on the pitch this afternoon, together with the manager.

"I assume he will finish the season, just like Benitez."

Friends reunited: Zenden played for Benitez at Liverpool
 

Ex-Liverpool manager Benitez was something of a shock choice for Chelsea, but was appointed less than 24 hours after the club dispensed with Di Matteo.

The Spaniard has been handed the role on a temporary basis until the end of the season, with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich still keen to appoint his No 1 target Pep Guardiola in the summer.

Confirming Benitez would meet Chelsea's players today, the European champions said in a statement: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed interim first-team manager until the end of the season.

"The owner and the board believe that, in Benitez, we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives."

One of Benitez's first tasks will be to get Fernando Torres firing again. The Spain striker enjoyed his best form under Benitez at Liverpool, and Abramovich is thought to be desperate to get value from his £50million man.

Out of form: Can Benitez get Fernando Torres firing again?

Michael Regan

 

Benitez told Sport360 shortly before his appointment: "I think you can see in (Torres') face that he is almost trying too hard.

"But I think the potential is still there.

"The problem with some players is that they are doing so well in a team and the understanding is so good that it is difficult to replicate that in another team.

"Sometimes, it is a question of time, but he is a good player, is keen to learn and is a good professional."

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata has welcomed his new boss to the club.

He told the Daily Mail: "Rafa Benitez is a great coach.

"He's got lots of experience and won a lot of trophies with Liverpool, taking them to a very high level. He knows the Premier League too."

Mata also backed Torres to find his form again under the new manager.

"I have total faith in Fernando Torres. He will score goals. He is a great striker and a great professional," he said.

By CapitalBay Online 11/22/2012 05:37:00