New Inter Milan manager Rafa Benitez is used to being under fire. The former Liverpool coach was often reported to be on the hot seat last season as his usual top four club missed out on a Champions League berth for this year. And now that the Spanish coach has moved to Serie A not much has changed regarding the pressure.
Not only does Rafa have the tough task of maintaining a treble level of greatness for his new Italian side, but the coach has been criticized several times by other head coaches in the last few weeks. Yesterday I reported that Benitez was accused of poaching players from his former side of Liverpool by the side’s new coach Roy Hodgson. Hodgson angrily suggested that Benitez had been working behind the scenes attempting to lure Liverpool players away from the EPL including Dirk Kuyt and Javier Mascherano. And Hodgson even went as far as to suggest that Benitez had breached a contractual agreement that prohibits him from signing Liverpool players.
And today Benitez has a new tormentor in the likes of his new side’s iconic former coach. Jose Mourinho recently suggested that Benitez had an easy job due to the fact that he was taking over a team that was already great before the former Liverpool man inherited the Italian squad.
Rafa of course laughed at this statement and gave the following retort:
First of all I’m surprised that Mourinho has spoken because normally he doesn’t speak – he talks about nothing. He’s not here anymore but if everything was so perfect then why did he leave? Why did he choose to join another team? That was his decision. It’s clear to everyone that this is a good team and it was too when he arrived at Inter. I’m very happy and don’t like talking about these things. I think he speaks from outside, but it’s better for us to concentrate on the work we must do for Inter.
And all in all I’d say that Rafa made his point. We all know that Mourinho loves to speak his mind and on the flipside it isn’t like Real Madrid is some lowly club that needs serious rebuilding to compete. Rafa is right in the fact that Mourinho chose to leave the squad and therefore cannot really complain about the coach that fills in after he has already left. Rafa already has the great pressure of attempting to match Mourinho’s level of success and that is a very difficult assignment to take on for anyone.