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Page last updated at 19:45 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 20:45 UK

Ferguson & Benitez must 'move on'

Benitez aims to build for next season

The League Managers Association (LMA) has urged Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to "move on" from their rift.

Benitez refused to congratulate Ferguson on United winning the Premier League title in the pair's latest spat.

"They are very experienced, very successful and highly competitive," said LMA chief executive Richard Bevan.

"They will at times have strong views but I think on this instant it is time for all parties to move on."

And Bevan insisted the LMA takes an active role in making sure managers act responsibly.

"At the LMA the image of the game matters and we speak to all of our members on an ongoing basis on a variety of issues," he added.

Benitez was cagey when asked about United's title win following his own side's 2-0 victory over West Brom.

PHIL McNULTY BLOG
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

"I prefer just to say well done to the club, a big club, a good club," he said.

"Normally you have to be polite and respect the other manager but during the season we have seen a lot of things that I didn't like, so that's it.

"I say congratulations to United because they have won. And that's it."

Benitez's comments added fuel to the ongoing feud between the two managers as they have traded blows while their teams have battled for the league crown.

In January Liverpool were top of the Premier League when Benitez unleashed a tirade regarding Ferguson's views on the Christmas fixture list, which came to be know in the tabloids as "Rafa's rant."

And in April, prior to United's FA Cup semi-final defeat against Everton, Ferguson blasted Benitez for labelling Everton as a "small club" and criticised the Spaniard for showing contempt to Blackburn when the Liverpool boss appeared to dismiss Sam Allardyce's side once Liverpool scored their second goal in a 4-0 win.

United's victory gave them a record-equalling 18 titles along with Liverpool.

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher (right) is restrained by Xabi Alonso (second right) after a spat with Alvaro Arbeloa (left)
Carragher (right) had to be restrained after a spat with Arbeloa (left)

The Old Trafford club will also be targeting a fourth European Cup triumph when they play Barcelona on 27 May and that would put them one behind Liverpool's haul of five wins in the competition.

Liverpool's win over the Baggies should secure second place in the Premier League but the victory was marred by an on-field disagreement between Jamie Carragher and Alvaro Arbeloa.

The pair were involved in a heated pushing exchange as the Reds struggled to keep a Baggies side at bay late on.

"The disagreement between my two players was because we wanted another clean sheet, we wanted 21," explained Benitez.

"I don't like what I saw but I am trying to see the positive side of things.

"We were looking to hit targets, a record points tally for the club of 83 and we achieved that. We wanted 13 away league wins, which is also a record.

"And we wanted another clean sheet and runners-up position. You could see why Jamie Carragher was like he was with Alvaro Arbeloa.

Bust-up was over clean sheets - Carragher

"For me that is a positive message about the mentality of the team. We wanted to show character and a desire to win and be second and stay as close as we could to Manchester United.

"Arbeloa was going forward and we had some problems in defence, so we wanted to protect Jose Reina better, he has 20 clean sheets and Manchester United's Edwin van der Sar has 21. That was important."

Liverpool have now failed to win the top-flight title since 1990 and Benitez says they will struggle to compete with their rivals until a new stadium is built for the Reds.

The construction of a replacement stadium for the current Anfield home has been delayed by co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

"On an economic level we cannot fight with the other big teams, at least for now, in particular because of the stadium," added Benitez.

"Manchester United's Old Trafford has 76,000 seats, Arsenal's Emirates has 60,000 and Chelsea can count on Abramovich.

"Until we have a new stadium, we will not be able to compete economically. In the meantime we'll have to do things very well to be competitive."



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see also
West Brom 0-2 Liverpool
17 May 09 |  Premier League
Premier League photos
17 May 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd 0-0 Arsenal
18 May 09 |  Premier League
Ferguson hungry for four in a row
16 May 09 |  Man Utd
Ferguson turns up heat on Benitez
17 Apr 09 |  Man Utd
Benitez lays into rival Ferguson
09 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd money the key - Benitez
16 May 09 |  Liverpool


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