Rafa defends his way | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 21, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 21, 2008

Rafa defends his way

Rafa Benitez insisted he had been vindicated after Liverpool's 2-0 Champions League win over Inter Milan gave the Spanish coach hope of extending his Anfield reign.
Benitez's future looked bleak after he was heavily criticised for resting key players in Saturday's humiliating FA Cup defeat against Barnsley.
That woeful result prompted suggestions Benitez would be sacked if Liverpool failed to reach the final of Europe's elite club competition for the third time in four years.
The Liverpool manager must have feared the worst as his side laboured to overcome Inter on Tuesday despite Marco Materazzi's dismissal only 30 minutes into the last 16 first leg.
But Benitez was quick to seize the chance to defend his much-maligned rotation policy after Gerrard and Fernando Torres, both rested against Barnsley, played key roles in the win.
"I rotate because I want to win. I have explained several times that you need to change players if you want to keep them all fresh," he said.
"We were playing with different players because we had some injuries before. We needed to do that against a good team like Inter Milan.
"The team can do these things because we have good players but to do it for 10 months you need a very big squad.
"Against Barnsley we created enough to win but we couldn't. Against Inter was more or less in the same in terms of the play. Maybe we had fewer chances but we scored two goals."
But Benitez knows how important Champions League success is to his future and he warned Liverpool not to underestimate Inter yet. "Everybody knows how important the Champions League is. We needed to win as a team because we wanted to progress in the competition," he said.
"We're a fantastic club and the players were playing with passion for the club. We knew it was important not to concede. That was one of the main things to have a chance in the second game, so to score two goals was perfect.
"With a cleansheet as well it will be difficult for them but we know they are a good team so we must be careful."

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