Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has wasted no time in hitting out at old foe and new interim Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez. The former Liverpool boss replaced Roberto Di Matteo who was sacked on Wednesday after eight months in charge. Benitez won the cup with Inter soon after taking over and could do so again with Chelsea next month. The Manchester United manager had a fractious relationship with Benitez during the Spaniard’s time at Liverpool. They fell out over Ferguson’s refusal to sell Gabriel Heinze to the Anfield outfit, and even more spectacularly in 2009, when the Scot suggested Liverpool would be affected by nerves during the Premier League title run-in. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says Rafael Benitez is “very lucky” to be named Chelsea boss ahead of the Club World Cup. Benitez’s astonishing response was to deliver a series of “facts”, backing up his belief that Ferguson benefited from more favourable treatment from the Football Association in his dealings with match officials.
As it turned out, United did win the title and within 12 months, Benitez had gone. He soon succeeded Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan but Benitez did not last long there either, even though he won the Italian Super Cup and the Club World Cup in his short San Siro stint. Not that Ferguson evidently holds much store by those achievements. Ferguson said: “On his CV he could have two world championships and nothing to do with the construction of the teams.” The Club World Cup is contested between champion clubs from all six of the world’s continental confederations. Ferguson added: “Rafael Benitez is very lucky. Jose Mourinho won the treble at Inter; Rafa took over and they won the world title without having to do anything. It is strange how it happens and sometimes you wonder if it encourages chairmen at football clubs to make changes because they think ‘if we get a new manager we’ll win the next two or three games. There is a mutual dislike between the two men which will make the next few months fascinating, even if United are not due to meet Chelsea again until the beginning of May.” “Everyone feels for Roberto Di Matteo,” said Ferguson. “The biggest disappointment for me is in two weeks’ time they are going to play in the Club World Cup. You would have thought they would have waited two weeks to give the guy a chance to win a world title. That’s why I really feel disappointment for Roberto.”
Benitez, 52, who was involved in several disputes with Ferguson during his spell at Anfield from 2004-2010, won the Italian Super Cup and Club World Cup during a six-month reign at Inter but was sacked in December 2010 and has not been in a managerial post since.
Wayne Rooney will captain England in Friday’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino in front of a capacity 90,000 crowd at Wembley. The 26-year-old has inherited the armband due to regular captain Steven Gerrard’s suspension following his sending-off in the last qualifier against Ukraine and because of a knee injury suffered by official vice-captain Frank Lampard. Rooney, who has 76 caps for England and missed the opening two Group H matches after suffering a nasty cut playing for Manchester United, captained his country in a friendly against Brazil three years ago. “Frank had a scan earlier in the week,
He tried to train apart from the team on Wednesday morning and he still felt a problem with his calf. There has been a slight tear. It’s not a major problem but the best thing if for him to go back to his club and receive treatment on a daily basis. We will reassess the situation on Sunday.” manager Roy Hodgson confirmed. After that it was seen as a straight fight between Rooney and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart for the honour, and the Football Association has now confirmed Rooney is the man. He has captained England just once before, in a friendly against Brazil in Doha in 2009. “I enjoy working with Wayne, we had a good Euros, I was disappointed of course when he got that terrible gash and I was even worried it would keep him out not only of the September games but also of the October games.
Luckily he has made a quick recovery and will certainly captain the team in the first one.” manager Roy Hodgson told reporters on Thursday. Rooney is aware of the importance of putting on a good performance against a side ranked joint worst in the world, at 207, alongside Bhutan and the Turks and Caicos Islands. “This is something I’m really proud of. It’s a big challenge for myself, and I’m excited. Hopefully we can cap the day off with a good victory.The fans since I’ve been involved with England have been fantastic, It’s a great honour, something I’m really proud of and a big challenge for myself and hopefully we’ll cap the day off with a good victory.” Rooney said. “I think it’s magnificent, it shows how fantastic the support is, we are very happy with it and concerned not to let them down,” manager Roy Hodgson added.
Manchester United & Manchester City news:
Joe Hart is still eager to improve despite being hailed as the best goalkeeper in the world by England colleague Wayne Rooney and Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. After the game, Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney described Hart as the best goalkeeper in the world. Joe Hart believes Wayne Rooney is next in line to captain England. “It’s a special honour for some special people to say some nice things, but we move on. In goal, you can be the worst in the world two days later.” said Hart. Goalkeeper Hart has been mentioned as a possible stand-in but Rooney, who has captained the side once before, is keen to take on a more senior role in Roy Hodgson’s group.
But the 25-year-old, speaking ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley, admits he is determined to scale even greater heights. Hart said: “It’s nice people say nice things but things are easily said. You’ve got to remain level-headed. If you don’t, it’s a big slap when you do something wrong. Then people are going to say bad things about you but that’s football. You can’t go too far one way or the other or you leave yourself vulnerable.” Goalkeeper Hart has been mentioned as a possible stand-in but Rooney, who has captained the side once before, is keen to take on a more senior role in Roy Hodgson’s group. He added: “I’ve not thought about it at all. How the captain is chosen is the manager’s decision. I’ve got a big responsibility to keep my place in the team for club and country. If I do get the nod, I’ll try and give as much as I can in terms of helping the team. But I think it’s between Wayne Rooney and Wayne Rooney if we are going to go on experience and how captains have been chosen in the past.” And the City No 1 knows even a side as lowly-ranked as San Marino are capable of causing a keeper embarrassment. Hart admits concentration is paramount as the solidity of the City and England defences means he has long spells when not called into action. He said.”It’s just not often that I get much opportunity to make many saves because City are so solid at the back,Concentration is always key. International football is not often ‘you have a go and then we’ll have a go’. It’s a chess game. I imagine, like most teams when they come to Wembley, San Marino are going to try and get people behind the ball.”
Hart admitted: “I’m still trying to improve. I hate to say it but I am getting a bit older now so I have to get in a bit earlier and prepare my body a bit differently. I just know every day I want to be the guy you can rely on. I want to be the best. I want to work hard on saving every shot. Pretty simple really. I’ve got no silly targets like I need to win this and I need to do that. I need to keep working hard, keep my love and passion for the game and hopefully good things will come.”
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his players they must keep their cool at Anfield on Sunday when his side take on Liverpool. Clashes between the two sides are usually heated affairs with six red cards in the last 11 meetings.Liverpool and United clashes have been famed for their atmospheres, which can lead to players getting carried away on the pitch.Nemanja Vidic has been United’s biggest culprit with three red cards against Liverpool in the last four years – including two at Anfield. “We’ve had a lot of players sent off at Anfield.
But I don’t think the games have ever got out of hand,” Ferguson said.”It’s going to be meaty, competitive, and we expect that. But I just hope our disciplinary record is good.” “There’s a great atmosphere, fantastic, and the kind of atmosphere you want to be involved in. “It does get emotive, but you just have to handle that,” he said. There is also the added spice this time as Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra are likely to go up against each other again following last season’s fall-out between the pair.
Ferguson praised the atmosphere at Anfield but has warned his players they must be able to keep their focus on the pitch despite what may be happening in the stands. The United manager will want his side to keep eleven men on the pitch as they go in search for their first win at Anfield since 2007, when they beat Liverpool 1-0.