x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

One step at a time for Benitez and Inter Milan

Rafa Benitez will be looking to end his five-year trophy drought by leading Inter Milan to victory in the Club World Cup.

Inter Milan coach Rafa Benitez. Hassan Ammar / AP Photo
Inter Milan coach Rafa Benitez. Hassan Ammar / AP Photo

ABU DHABI // Rafa Benitez will be looking to end his five-year trophy drought by leading Inter Milan to victory in the Club World Cup.

The Spaniard's last success was an epic one when he led Liverpool, the English Premier League club, to a remarkable victory in the European Champions League in 2005. But with two wins from the past nine games, his job has come under increasing pressure.

Benitez, however, was adamant he is not thinking about the final yet, even though Inter are favourites to win the tournament.

"The first game is very important and we are not looking beyond that," he said yesterday at Zayed Sports City.

"Everything will depend on our first game, which will be like a final for us."

He watched last night's game between Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and Al Wahda, with the South Korean side winning 4-1 to earn the right to face Inter on Wednesday.

"I have a lot of respect for all teams that are here," he said. "We have also come here to win and I am sure that if we play well, we can win against any team.

"We are Inter and are prestigious and a very important club, with many supporters behind us and many players whom have done really well to be here.

"This is a team with quality, I am convinced we will do well because you can't get and you can't lose quality overnight: we must have the mentality, the legs, the tactics and above all the spirit to win this trophy."

Ivan Cordoba, Inter's Colombian defender, said he felt there was not much difference between the team that won the Champions League last season and the one that is struggling domestically in the current campaign (they are 10 points behind leaders AC Milan in Serie A).

"We have gone through some difficult times," said Cordoba. "But we will come through this. And on those terms, winning this trophy is very important."

 

apassela@thenational.ae