Has cup king Rafa Benitez underachieved since Istanbul?

When people think back to the events at half-time in the bowels of the Ataturk Stadium on May 25, 2005, it’s tempting to envisage a portly Spaniard channeling his inner-Churchillian rhetoric, arms flailing in a pique of tub thumping and rabble rousing.

It’s an interesting dynamic of the British perception of sporting comebacks that it was assumed what he said, rather than what he did, was the decisive factor in pulling Liverpool back from three goals down against Milan.

Ten years have passed and accounts of that half-time team-talk from Rafa Benitez still differ to this day. Jamie Carragher emphasised the speed and calmness at which he explained the tactical changes, the introduction of Didi Hamann and the shift to three at the back, but that he was so flustered he nearly sent the team back out with 12 players. Scott Carson said it was quiet, that Benitez told them to play for pride.

The former Valencia boss remembers it differently in his 2012 book, Champions League Dreams: “We have nothing to lose. If we can relax, we can get a goal. And if we get the first goal, we can come back into the game. We have to fight. We owe something to the supporters. Don’t let your heads drop.

Full Article Here


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