Saturday, October 10, 2009

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Liverpools manager Rafa Benítez likes Chelsea without José Mourinho

Rafael Benítez has said any tensions between him and Chelsea disappeared when José Mourinho left Stamford Bridge. With neither man seeking to disguise their dislike for each other, fixtures between Chelsea and Liverpool came to carry as much edge as any game in the Premier League calendar. However, the Liverpool manager said that since Mourinho's sacking two years ago, he has enjoyed an excellent rapport with his successors."I have had a very good relationship with all of them," he said. "It was good with Mourinho at the beginning – but he changed when we started winning. That wasn't my responsibility. Carlo Ancelotti is very competitive but he does it with respect. He doesn't need to do these [mind games]. He is a professional."Luiz Felipe Scolari was a good professional, a nice person, someone you could talk with before and after games. He has a lot of experience and is a good manager."This will be the first time that Ancelotti and Benítez have met in anything other than a European Cup final – Milan gained revenge in 2007 for their stunning reverse two years earlier in Istanbul.Benítez said he was bemused by comments from the Liverpool defender Fábio Aurélio that at half-time in Florence on Tuesday night he had been as angry as his players had ever seen him. However, he admitted he was more annoyed at being two down to Fiorentina than trailing Ancelotti's Milan by three goals in the 2005 final."In Istanbul, we were in a final in my first year at Liverpool and we were 3-0 down so I couldn't be angry, I had to be positive. Maybe Fábio hasn't been with me for too many games. At half-time you have to react but my players know I will give analysis, solutions and advice rather than shouting too much. All I said is that from the manager down to the kit man we had been very poor in the first half."