Benitez: Win overshadowed by two tragedies

August 28, 2007

Rafael Benitez acknowledged Liverpool's impressive European progress was overshadowed by two tragedies.

The Reds paid their tribute to murdered 11-year-old Rhys Jones before tonight's 4-0 Champions League win over Toulouse, and manager Benitez hugged the boy's mother Melanie before the match and shook the hand of father Steve and elder son Owen, 17.

But Benitez also wanted to pass on his condolences to Sevilla football club back in his native Spain, who today saw wing-back Antonio Puerta die after he collapsed during a match at the weekend.

Benitez said: 'Football must take a back seat when such tragedies happen. It was very emotional for me and all you can do at this point is offer your respect and support.'

On tonight's match, Benitez said: 'I was very pleased with the performance, we played well and you can see the competition now for places with players working to impress right to the end.

'I know Peter Crouch has been out of the last two games and he has now scored eight in his last 10 games in Europe. But if the team keeps winning and everyone else scores goals as well, I will be happy.

'I was able to bring in (Yossi) Benayoun, (Sebastian) Leto and Lucas (Leiva) for this game and they all did well.

'You can see the quality in every position. I have two players to chose from now for every place and the players know that.

'I now do not need to talk a lot about one or two star players all the time, I have players everywhere who want to play and have the ability to play.'

Toulouse manager Elie Baup accepted his side had eventually been overrun, but was happy with much of their play.

He said: 'For an hour, our plans went reasonably well with three at the back, and for our general play we deserved more. But with all that effort we still lost 4-0, it is very disappointing.

'We ran a lot but with Liverpool's technical quality and movement they made the ball run a lot. Their ability was hard to handle at times.

'There is a difference between the French league and the English league. Liverpool were fresh, fit and strong and it showed at the end of the match.

'We struggled once they got their second, they play in a far stronger league.

'Five years ago we were playing in the third division, now we are in the backyard of one of the greatest sides in Europe. We must learn the lessons and not concentrate on the defeat.'