After leaving Liverpool last Thursday Rafa Benitez already looks set to move back into management by taking the vacant job at Inter Milan after Jose Mourinho departed to Real Madrid, but can he be a success at the club?
His six-year-tenure at Liverpool saw the club win the Champions League, the FA Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the Community Shield. Arguably Benitez didn’t achieve as much success as he should have, and last year’s dismal campaign which saw the side finish 7th in the league was the final straw for the Anfield board. Although winning the Champions League was an incredible feat and so was getting to the final two years later that wasn’t enough success for him to keep his job.
However his next challenge now awaits and it looks to be managing Inter Milan, he will have a tough act to follow as his predecessor won the treble last season which pretty much means that he will have to win at least one trophy in his first season there. His tactics which same under a lot of scrutiny from the English press will no doubt be more suited to the Italian game as Benitez is a very defensive-minded coach.
Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has already sung the praises of his former coach by saying that he would be perfect for the Inter Milan job. Mascherano said:
“Only Benitez could take the place of a coach like Mourinho, he is a great coach. He has charisma, personality, a winning mentality.” He added: “Moreover, he will find himself brilliantly in Italy because of the tactical game. Rafa studies everything on the table and directs the team from the bench like a orchestra conductor. After Mourinho, he is the only man capable of continuing Inter’s winning run.”
Despite these praises, Benitez has had to cope with a lot of pressure during his time at Liverpool and whilst winning the Serie A title with Inter will be a lot easier than winning the Premier League with Liverpool due to the inferiority of the other sides. Therefore the expectation will be greater than at Liverpool because they had a lot of strong sides to compete with and in Italy the competition simply won’t be as fierce. At times it looked like the pressure got to Benitez at Liverpool so he will have to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen whilst in charge of Inter.
It will be interesting to see how individual players cope under Benitez’ management, players like Maicon who love to get forward at every opportunity could be made to adapt his game to suit that tactics Benitez employs. A big question will be the future of Mario Balotelli, the youngster who recently revealed he had a love-hate relationship with Jose Mourinho, and Benitez will surely be looking to keep him at the club. Benitez was criticised in England for failing to develop any youngsters at Liverpool with the likes of Stephen Warnock being sold to Blackburn Rovers, before moving on to Aston Villa and is now in England’s World Cup squad. So it will be interesting to see what happens with Balotelli.
Benitez should do well at Inter Milan as it won’t be as tough as managing Liverpool and with Inter President Massimo Moratti already praising Benitez before he has even signed a contract. It shows that he is going to get the full backing of the owner which is something he never had at Liverpool and was one of the reasons why Benitez couldn’t do a better job at the club. He may not have the charisma of Mourinho but Inter fans can be confident that their period of domination in Italian football looks set to continue for a few more years at least.
Do you think Rafa Benitez is the right man for Inter?