Since Jose Mourinho’s departure, Rafa Benitez’s arrival to Inter Milan has not been greeted warmly by fans of the club and possibly some members of the five consecutive Scudetti champ’s board. But the good news for their new coach Rafa is his team turned around their 6th place results last weekend with an impressive 5-2 road victory over Parma despite not having Samuel Eto’o in the lineup due to a headbutt suspension.
Rafa’s side has climbed up to 5th place in the league and finally appeared to look in form on offense. The former Liverpool boss has recently had words of support from Inter’s president and several players, but the lack of positive results early in the 2010 campaign have had many critics questioning the potential removal of Rafa from office.
Rafa’s former keeper Pepe Reina recently spoke out on behalf of his old Liverpool coach claiming that if the Italian club remains loyal to the coach’s contract they will win many more Scudetti in the future. Reina told ESPNsoccernet:
Rafa is a great manager. I remember when he was at Valencia, he had a match to save at the Montjuic, Espanyol’s [old] ground, they were losing 2-0 at half-time. They won their game 3-2 and they won the league that season [2001-2].
It’s only five months [into his reign] in Italy. They have to be patient. The mentality down there or in Spain is not the same as in England but if they give him time, he is going to be what he is: a great manager.
And as I have preached several times in the past weeks, I think this is exactly right from the Liverpool man. Although Rafa has done below the level of expectations so far, you still have to consider him a long term investment much like a star player. Rafa needs at least a full season to prove his worth to the club and if the club fails to make the top two teams in the league then the new coach would likely be on the hot seat of losing his job as amazing as that is.
But with a 5-2 victory last weekend, times may be getting better for the league’s defending champs.