Premier League news

Benitez: I ranked Wenger above Ferguson

November 23, 2012
By Miguel Delaney

Rafa Benitez has claimed he doesn't enjoy mind games, but that didn't stop him taking part in them during his first Friday press conference as he placed Arsene Wenger ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson as a manager.

Rafa Benitez Arsene Wenger Arsenal v Liverpool
PA PhotosRafa Benitez spoke of his admiration for long-serving Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

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On his first full day in the Chelsea job, the Spaniard was greeted with a typical barb from his old sparring partner Ferguson, who claimed he was "lucky" to be in a position to win a second Club World Cup.

Benitez, however, responded by talking about how he ranked Wenger above the Manchester United manager when he first came to England, and that any such comments were only in reply to other managers "pushing him".

"No, I don't enjoy that [mind games]. I enjoy my team playing well and winning games. I have to defend my team, my club, so I cannot wait while they push and push," Benitez said.

"You're playing to win trophies, and only one can win it. Some managers in the middle of the table can be friendly, but only one wins it. People try to win in different ways. I like to respect people, but sometimes I cannot because they push you...

"There are a lot of good managers in the world, many who have won trophies. I don't like to talk about other managers. When I came to England I knew the other managers. Arsene Wenger was the best manager who had been here for a while. But I cannot talk about these things every day."