HE might only have been in charge for six months, but Rafael Benitez certainly made an impact during his time at Chelsea and he is sure to be given a rough reception when he makes his first return as an opposing manager later today.

The Newcastle United boss will take his team to west London looking to spring a surprise to lift the Magpies further away from the Premier League’s bottom three, as the Blues he left behind in the summer of 2013 try to stay in touch with the Manchester dominated top two.

Benitez must be one of the only managers in the world still hated by a group of fans at a club where he achieved the targets he was set when he took over from Roberto di Matteo towards the end of November 2012.

The 57-year-old successfully secured Chelsea a Champions League place that season; the main aim Roman Abramovich had, and then he added the Europa League crown to Chelsea’s trophy cabinet too.

And yet, given his history as the Liverpool manager who led them to Champions League glory and his run-ins with Jose Mourinho, there were some Chelsea supporters who would never have warmed to him. And still haven’t.

“A group of fans weren’t good to me,” said Benitez, who remains the last Chelsea manager to win European silverware. “And you can always hear those who were more vocal, it doesn’t mean they are the majority. I can tell you, a lot of fans were happy with me. At the end, I had a lot of messages telling me I did really well.

"My relationship with Roman Abramovich was really good, the people of the board was really good. They knew that we were professionals and we were doing our job. We were achieving what they expected.

"I was hired to do a job. We finished in the top three and won the Europa League. It was difficult because we lost Oriel Romeu. We only had one striker for the league - Fernando Torres - and one for the Europa - Demba Ba - who was playing with his knee. We played 69 games and achieved what we achieved.”

The Chelsea supporters who disagreed with his appointment are likely to give him a negative reception today and tell a different tale. It has been suggested the football was turgid, they suffered a home defeat to neighbours QPR for the first time in 30 years and they were knocked out by Swansea in the semi-final of the League Cup. There were also the "plastic flags" comments he made as Liverpool manager.

A failure to win the World Club Championship when they lost to Corinthians 1-0 in the final was also a stick to beat him with; although Benitez still thinks Abramovich would have preferred to keep him on had it not been for some fans.

He said: “All the feedback that I had from the professionals and the board was very positive. They couldn’t manage with what happened with some fans. Most fans realised the best way was to stay calm and let us do our job. We achieved what they were expecting.

“In the end, they had to decide and decided they had to change. Initially, he brought me to save the team and to achieve what we did achieve. Afterwards, they thought they had to change, and they did."

Benitez, who was only ever given an interim title, added: “It was a good time, we had to do a job. We were professional and we did what we had to do. The atmosphere in the training ground was really good. The players were working hard. The staff were brilliant, everyone was happy.

“When we finished, they all congratulated me. We won the Europa League. Everything was fine. The majority of fans were happy. But maybe some of them, because of my past with Liverpool, they were unhappy. On a daily basis, the atmosphere was very positive.”

Since then Chelsea have had Mourinho back in charge and now Antonio Conte, who Benitez came up against regularly during his time in Italy when Juventus and Napoli went head-to-head, has won over the hearts of Chelsea fans.

After winning the league last year, though, Chelsea have found it tougher this time. Benitez said: "We have taken coaching courses together and he is a very competitive manager who has done a great job.

"To come to another country and win the league at a massive club, he did really well.

"They play against other teams who are stronger this year and they played one competition last season. You have to play against top sides, when you have one game a week and not so many injuries it is easier.”