A refreshingly candid interview with Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez – Guillem Ballague asks all the right questions.
Rafa on former assistant Pako Ayestaran:
Liverpool gave him autonomy and power and I think that changed him a lot — he wanted more and more. One day I found out that he had serious contacts with other teams and that seemed to me a betrayal towards me and the club that I couldn’t accept. He told me he wanted to leave the same day that we played against Toulouse, so I lost someone I trusted greatly, a key member of my staff at a crucial moment in the preseason.
Rafa on transfers:
In my four years at Liverpool we have spent £150 million and we have gained somewhere in the region of £70 million. Looking at those numbers, there’s a difference of £20 million per season, yet we have won four [trophies] and played seven finals. When all things are considered, that’s not a bad return. I think that we’re on the right path.
Other interesting comments include his reasoning behind not playing Crouch more often, on rotation, on Torres, the lack of goals from elsewhere in the team and how his record stacks up compared to the rest of the ‘big sides’ in the Premier League.
Interview link (Times Online).
Reading the interview, I kept thinking two things – one, that Liverpool fans are not much more different than Tottenham and Newcastle fans in that they expect way too much from their teams, and two, that Rafa’s answers were a touch defensive. Of course, Rafa knows better than anyone else that the fans expect too much.