Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez is ready to go toe-to-toe with Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of today’s vital Premier League clash between the Blues and Manchester United at Old Trafford.
There has always been a feud between the two managers and even when Sir Alex praised Benitez for his work at Stamford Bridge he did so with a back-handed comment about the Spaniard being pre-occupied over his CV. It’s not the first time the Scot has tried to wind him up and Benitez insists he’s ready to fight his team’s corner whilst being unconcerned about the rivalry.
The former Inter Milan boss said:
“I don’t like personal confrontation, but obviously you want to stand up.
“The manager is there and you are close to them, so if he wants to fight, you have to fight. I don’t have any problem with that.
“But I like to concentrate on football issues, that is the main thing, tactically and details about the game.”
“In England, sometimes you talk about mind games, but the mind games are just an excuse when you don’t want to talk about the other things.”
Despite what you think of the man it is always nice to hear a bit of fighting talk from any manager ahead of a big game and I hope he doesn’t succumb to Fergie’s infamous jibes and verbal diarrhea.
The duo have clashed on a number of occasions previously:
Give me the ‘facts’:
Rafael Benitez unleashed a rant over Ferguson’s influence over referees and the football authorities in January 2009. This sort of thing will never go away and will always cause controversy, especially as there are Manchester United figures like David Gill are within the Football Association itself.
I’ve got your back:
After Benitez’s ‘game over’ gesture when Liverpool scored against Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn and his ‘small club’ jibe in relation to David Moyes’ Everton, Ferguson waded in on the debate:
“I saw it and I’m surprised nobody else picked it up. I’ve never had any issues like that with Rafa, though. He’s never done that—never had a chance.
“I think you should respect a manager. I don’t think you’d ever get me doing something like that. You won’t. You have to have humility.”
“Irrespective of what Rafa Benitez says, Everton are a big club. He called them a small club, which just points to his arrogance.”
On his return to English football with Chelsea, Ferguson remarked on Rafa’s luck.
“On his CV he could have two world championships and nothing to do with the construction of the teams.”
The Manchester United boss has gotten the better of Benitez for the most part but I think he fears Chelsea at the moment and what they will become should someone like Jose Mourinho take the help. In the meantime, Benitez has had joy against Manchester United in the two FA Cup games this season and hopefully he’ll have the last laugh here.