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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 06:11 GMT
Benitez hails 'important' victory
Rafael Benitez
The fine win over Inter Milan should ease the pressure on Benitez
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez admitted his side's 2-0 Champions League win over 10-man Inter Milan was crucial after another turbulent week for him.

The Spaniard has come under intense pressure this season and none more so than this week following Liverpool's FA Cup exit to Barnsley at the weekend.

And he said: "I think everyone knew we needed this. It was really important for the club and fans that we won.

"I have always had confidence in this team and we will win a lot of games."

Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard got the goals in the last five minutes what had at one point looked like being a frustrating match to ensure Liverpool are well placed to make the quarter-finals of the competition.

That came after Marco Materazzi had seen red on the half hour and Benitez said: "We needed to be patient.


"Against a good team like Inter, who are a very well organised outfit, you have to be patient and wait for the chances to come, because they will.

"It will be difficult for them to come back now, but they have a lot of good players and while we are confident, we will not be complacent."

It was a particularly pleasing night for Kuyt, who has also come under criticism after a lean season in front of goal, but Benitez played down suggestions he and the team wanted to hit back at the critics at Anfield.

"The determination to prove people wrong was no different to any other game," he said.

"We've not had much luck of late and the confidence is low but we must keep keeping working and that's what we did.

Other teams have come back from such deficits

Inter boss Roberto Mancini

"I'm also pleased for Kuyt. I have a lot of confidence in him because his commitment is always 100% and every team needs a player like that."

Benitez' Italian counterpart Roberto Mancini refused to admit that it was game over.

"We knew that after Liverpool's defeat at the weekend (knocked out at home in the FA Cup by Championship side Barnsley) they were going to come out all guns blazing.

"However, Steven Gerrard's goal is not our death knell. Other teams have come back from such deficits."

The second leg of the last-16 match takes place at the San Siro on 11 March.

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