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Benitez wants new blood despite Inter triumph

18 December 2010 23:09

ABU DHABI (AFP) - Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez was happy to land his first silverware with the Serie A giants after Saturday's 3-0 Club World Cup final win over African champions TP Mazembe - but reiterated his demands for some new blood to bolster an injury-ravaged campaign.

Benitez, arriving from Liverpool in the summer, has a job on his hands to come close to emulating predecessor Jose Mourinho after the latter won a treble of Champions League, Serie A title and Italian Cup last season.

Even so, the win over Mazembe has taken a little of the heat off as Inter prepare to play catch-up in the Italian league where they trail leaders and city rivals AC Milan by 13 points - albeit with a game in hand.

While goals from Goran Pandev, Samuel Eto'o and Jonathan Biabiany send Mazembe packing, Benitez - who dedicated the win in part to fans of old club Liverpool - said he needed to see that the Inter hierarchy are fully behind his desire to strengthen the squad.

Embraced by chairman Massimo Moratti at the end, Benitez told reporters: "My relationship with the chairman is good - but I ask the club for help and respect - they did not come up with the goods after what they told me in the summer about (new) signings and so it's not easy.

"There are three possibilities. The first is that they help me and four or five new players come in and make the team even stronger," said Benitez, pointing out that several of his top stars have turned 30.

"The second is to carry on the same as now without a project or planning and get to May (season's end) that way. And the third is to speak with my agent," he said, implying that if the club were dissatisfied with him they should find someone else.

He insisted: "My relationship with the club is good - but I am a professional of 25 years standing in football and I want respect and assistance."

Benitez also harked back to his time with Liverpool, which saw him peak with the famous shootout win over AC Milan in 2005 after the team had come back from 3-0 down in Istanbul.

Afterwards, the Reds would decline and missed out on the Champions League qualification, hastening his departure last summer.

But Liverpool still are dear to Benitez's heart.

"I dedicate this title to my family, to all those who are close to me, the technical staff, the players, all the 'tifosi' (fans) of Inter and also a little to the fans of Liverpool, as in 2005 we didn't quite manage to achieve this (world club title)."

That year, Liverpool lost out to Brazil's Sao Paolo.

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