TONY Mowbray last night admitted he felt little sympathy for the under-pressure Rafa Benitez because the Spaniard would have known what to expect when he joined Chelsea.
The Middlesbrough boss will this evening attempt to inflict further pain on the interim Chelsea manager who yesterday was forced to play down reports of a training ground bust-up with his players.
Chelsea visit the Riverside Stadium for a FA Cup tie that unusually means far more to the Premier League outfit and particularly their beleaguered manager, who was controversially brought in by Roman Abramovich earlier in the season after Roberto Di Matteo was sacked.
Mowbray is well aware of Benitez’s woes. Even an FA Cup win will probably not save the Spaniard, but he refuses to feel sorry for his well-paid counterpart whom he believes was well aware of what he was walking into at Stamford Bridge.
Mowbray said: “I don’t want to get dragged into what Mr Abramovich does, but when I played against them and beat them in 1988, it is fair to say there is a big difference between that Chelsea and the one of 2013.
“That is only because of what he has brought to the club.
“It is his club and his money. Football managers go into that job with their eyes open and they know what is expected of them at a club with the demands they have at Chelsea.
“They know what is expected. It is too short-term, because they are not trying to build teams. Here at
Boro it is a different philosophy and I’m very fortunate because the chairman is very understanding for what I am trying to do with the team, within the financial restrictions.”
Benitez may not even last until the end of the season if Chelsea lose this evening, especially as it has become obvious that John Terry, among others, has questioned his methods.
Mowbray said: “I was manager of Celtic and that brings pressure. Managing Chelsea is the same in that you are expected to win every game. If you don’t, whoever the manager is, you have people telling you that you picked the wrong team.
“He had to win at Valencia, he had to win at Liverpool and he has to win at Chelsea, and there he is with the world’s best players playing for him. He is earning a decent living.
“That’s what you get for being a top manager.”
Mowbray hopes this uncertainty can help his side beat their third Premier League team of the season, although Boro’s performances over the past two months suggest that will be a tall order.
He said: “We are not in great form. There is no point in denying that but there is a little less pressure on us against Chelsea.
“If everything is equal they should beat us with the players they have got but with the crowd behind us we will have a real go – and yet they are going through a tough period themselves, so it will not be easy for them.”