Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Exit hasn’t turned up heat at Liverpool: Benitez

Rafael Benitez insists he does not feel under added pressure following Liverpool's Champions League exit and claims his side are “better than their results”.

The Merseysiders had to settle for a place in the Europa League despite their 1-0 win against Debrecen on Tuesday night — Fiorentina's defeat of Lyon meaning they advanced instead from Group E.

Fortunately for Benitez, his team get a quick shot at redemption when they take on city rivals Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.

And the Spaniard is determined to make amends for their European setback.

He said: “We have not been able to go through to the last 16 of the Champions League, so we must make sure we double our efforts in the league and always do our very best in future matches.

“Then the confidence of the team will be much better, we will be able to approach league matches in a better frame of mind.”

Reds chief executive Christian Purslow again backed Benitez to improve the club's fortunes this week — they have won just two of their last 11 games to fall well behind in the Premier League title race — and the former Valencia chief is adamant he does not fear the sack.

He added: “I do not feel under any greater pressure, Liverpool are under pressure in every single game, anyway, whatever the competition.

“The players know we are better than our results suggest, they can see that we could have won in every game even if not playing well.

“We have played better than many of our opponents in this run, we have had plenty of opportunities to score. They know the situation.

“We have ideas, we have solutions to problems, and plans for matches. The players know we have been a lot better than people are saying.”

He continued: “Things are still positive, we have players coming back from injuries. We have been positive in recent league games against Birmingham and Manchester City, things have been improving.”

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