Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Rafael Benitez sees red again after sack rumours

Rafael Benitez has denied suggestions he has been sacked by Inter Milan and re-iterated his demand that president Massimo Moratti backs him in next month's transfer window.

Various media outlets claimed yesterday that Moratti has decided to fire the Spanish coach over his comments following the Club World Cup final, when Benitez issued a ‘back me or sack me' ultimatum following the 3-0 win over TP Mazembe.

However Benitez, who is currently on holiday in Liverpool, said: “I have not been sacked.

“Many people that read the newspapers have called me up to ask me if I had been dismissed.

“It's not true, I am surprised that it has been reported as a done thing.

“I am currently on holiday to rest and then to begin again.

“For months I have heard and read things that are not true.”

The Spaniard's rant following Inter's win on Saturday was not welcomed by Moratti, but Benitez defended his position and even re-emphasised his desire for financial backing.

“The president (Moratti), with whom I had spoken prior to that press conference, had already left Abu Dhabi and the only possibility was to publicly say something which was evident,” said Benitez.

“I don't want to put the president under pressure, but I had spoken to him in the past about my project.

“My project was to include a series of useful players immediately as well as young players for the future. Moratti, with whom I have a correct and respectful relationship, liked it.

“The president has to take a decision regarding the line we want to follow.

“While I am here (at Inter) I will work in the best possible way in order for the team to continue to win, but in order to win and to do well it is necessary to bring in reinforcements. Injuries have hindered us and I don't want this to happen again.

“The transfer market begins soon and hence, this is the time to speak openly about acquisitions.”

Benitez's outspoken comments are not the only cause of speculation over his future, with results on the pitch unimpressive.

The former Liverpool manager has endured a difficult start at Inter since replacing Jose Mourinho in the summer.

Inter have been decimated by injuries and are 13 points adrift of city rivals AC Milan in the Serie A title hunt, albeit having played two games fewer than the Rossoneri.

They now have a winter break and next take to the field against Napoli on January 6.

Moratti was last night refusing to answer questions regarding Benitez's future.

He said: “I will not speak today. I do not wish to create any controversies with anyone.”

Benitez's agent Manuel Garcia Quilon dismissed reports of his dismissal, claiming they are premature.

“Benitez is under contract with Inter and the situation is the same as it was before,” he said.

“Benitez said what he said and he does not need to explain himself further.

“I have not been contacted by anyone.”

Reports in Italy have strongly linked former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti, now at Zenit St Petersburg, with a return to Italy to replace Benitez.

Earlier, Benitez received backing from Renzo Ulivieri, the head of the Italian Coaches' Association, who believes the Inter boss is right in asking for backing from the club.

“Benitez has always been calm and civil,” said Ulivieri, who is backing the Spaniard.

“He has my support, but he doesn't need it because he can stand on his own two feet. He is a world club champion.

“If he asks for respect it's because obviously he has been lacking it.

“He has only asked for normal things.”

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