BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 22:06 GMT, Monday, 1 November 2010

Rafael Benitez hits back at Roy Hodgson jibe


Hodgson 'can't see a priest in a mountain of sugar' - Benitez

Venue: White Hart Lane Date: Tuesday 2 November Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live and Sky Sports 2

Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez says Roy Hodgson should focus on managing Liverpool rather than criticising his transfer record as Reds boss.

Last week, Hodgson bemoaned the number of "expensive failures" at the club.

But speaking before Inter's match with Tottenham, Benitez said: "He's talking about things that he doesn't know."

And following previous cryptic comments about a bottle of milk, the Spaniard added: "Some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar."

His Spanish colloquialism is another way of saying that Hodgson cannot see the truth staring him in the face.

It derives its meaning from the ease with which a priest's black robes could be spotted against the white of the mountain of sugar.

Inter play Spurs at White Hart Lane on Tuesday in a Champions League Group A match, having beaten Harry Redknapp's side 4-3 at the San Siro a fortnight ago.

With £10m net spending, I left that squad with £300m value, 13 internationals

Inter coach Rafa Benitez

Prior to that match, Benitez criticised Liverpool's former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett as well as former managing director Christian Purslow.

And describing his departure from Anfield last summer, he said: "We have a saying in Spanish: 'White liquid in a bottle has to be milk.'"

On Monday, the former Liverpool boss was in equally combative mood and refused to accept Hodgson's criticism of "expensive failures" such as £20m midfielder Alberto Acquiliani and £11.5m winger Ryan Babel.

"I think that Mr Hodgson, he doesn't understand," insisted Benitez. "Every single press conference is even worse than the last one. He's talking about things that he doesn't know. And some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar.

"Maybe he hasn't been in Liverpool too long. We gave the fans their pride again. We fought for the fans, we fought for the club and we fought for our players. So maybe he cannot understand this.

"With £10m net spending, I left that squad with £300m value, 13 internationals.

"So, instead of talking about flips and flops, he has to concentrate on his job, try to do his best and not talk about the level of his players or the new players.


"Concentrate, try to do your best because it will be the best for the club and it will be the best for the fans."

Responding to Hodgson's accusations that Benitez had banned Kenny Dalglish from Liverpool's Melwood training ground during his time in charge, the Spaniard argued: "I brought back Kenny Dalglish to do a role in the club and Christian Purslow gave him another role."

Turning his attention to Tuesday's match, Benitez suggested Spurs might have lost to Manchester United in the league on Saturday because they had one eye on the match with Inter.

"It's obvious that they were just concentrating on this game. I thought they were just thinking about this game because it's very, very important for them," said Benitez, whose Inter team top Group A and are three points ahead of Spurs.

Benitez will be without goalkeeper Julio Cesar and midfielder Esteban Cambiasso after the Brazilian and Argentine picked up thigh strains in Friday's 1-0 league win in Genoa.

Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport has identified 15 muscle-related injuries that have affected Inter players since the start of the season, which has led to criticism of Benitez's training regime.

"All teams have injuries," said Benitez. "We have a certain amount of muscle-related injuries but 40% of them were picked up on national team duty. Also, 85% of them are recurring from last year.

"We're playing a lot of games of course but 80% of our training time is spent with the ball. We are playing a lot of games and we have half the recovery time now compared with previous years, and two years ago there were even more injuries here.

"You must remember that last year we played a lot of games in three competitions and we had the World Cup."


Redknapp has threatened to stop talking to the media

Print Sponsor

see also
Tottenham 3-1 Inter Milan
02 Nov 10 |  Europe
Redknapp threatens media blackout
01 Nov 10 |  Tottenham
Rafa reborn
01 Nov 10 |  Europe
Man United 2-0 Tottenham
30 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Inter Milan 4-3 Tottenham
20 Oct 10 |  Europe
Benitez fumes at ex-Reds owners
19 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Benitez appointed Inter manager
10 Jun 10 |  Europe
Benitez reign at Liverpool ends
03 Jun 10 |  Liverpool

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites