Football

Jose Mourinho Plays Down Rivalry With Rafa Benitez From Previous Clubs

Jose Mourinho Plays Down Rivalry With Rafa Benitez From Previous Clubs

Jose Mourinho has played down his rivalry with Rafa Benitez from his previous spell at Chelsea.

The Manchester United boss came up against Benitez’s Liverpool regularly while manager at Stamford Bridge, with their European games in 2005 representing a particularly tense point in the rivalry.

Mourinho has been very critical of Benitez in the past, with the Spaniard less likely to publicly retaliate to the Portuguese.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

But maybe it’s all water under the bridge now? At least according to Mourinho.

His United team take on Benitez’s Newcastle on Saturday so it’s understandable that their rivalry has been brought up in the build-up.

Yet Mourinho seems unwilling to carry it on, speaking to Sky Sports recently and saying: “I don’t think the rivalry was with Rafael, I think the rivalry was between our clubs rather than between us.

“We are managers from the same generation, we came to England in the same season and we were both successful in the European competitions.

“Not many [managers have] won the Champions League and Europa League. We are some of the few managers that did it.

“Of course between Liverpool and Chelsea, in the big matches rivalry happens but I respect him, his talent, his career and I want to believe that he feels the same.”

So it looks unlikely that there’ll be many fireworks when the managers meet tomorrow evening.

Nine points separate United to Newcastle going into this weekend’s game, with the former competing for the title this season while the latter look to establish themselves in the division after promotion.

But we’re sure Benitez will be keen to get one over on his old foe at Old Trafford and show everyone Newcastle aren’t there to simply make up the numbers this term.

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