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.