English Premiership

Fergie: Rafa is arrogant

2009-04-17 15:30
Alex Ferguson (File)
Manchester - Alex Ferguson continued his on-going feud with Premier League title rival Rafa Benitez on Friday after calling the Liverpool manager "arrogant".

The long-serving Manchester United manager made the comment as he made his final preparations ahead of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final with Everton at Wembley.

Benitez once enraged Liverpool's Merseyside rivals Everton after labelling them a "small club".

But Ferguson could not resist bringing up the comment in having another dig at Benitez at his press conference at United's Carrington training ground.

"They are a big club and David Moyes, the manager, is doing a great job," said Ferguson.

"He (Benitez) called them a small club, which points to his arrogance.

Ferguson then lambasted Benitez again in the same press conference, accusing the Spaniard of showing contempt to Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce during Liverpool's 4-0 victory at Anfield last Saturday.

Sir Alex claimed Benitez made a signal indicating the game was over after Fernando Torres had scored his, and Liverpool's, second goal in the 33rd minute.

"I don't think any other Liverpool manager would have done that," said Ferguson.

"That kind of contempt… it's beyond the pale. I don't think Sam Allardyce deserved that."

Ferguson has been involved in a three-month war of words with Benitez since the Liverpool manager accused the long-serving Old Trafford manager of being a whinger in January.

The United manager immediately hit back by accusing Benitez of allowing the pressure of the title race to get to him.

United are one point ahead of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League as the season reaches an exciting climax, although Ferguson's side have the edge as they have one game in hand.

Meanwhile, Ferguson has warned his players not to underestimate the challenge they face against Everton as he bids to guide United to a sixth FA Cup triumph in 23 years in charge at United.

Everton are without a major trophy for 14 years while United are chasing a possible quintuple this season.

Having already secured the League Cup and FIFA Club World Championship, the Premier League leaders face a Champions League semi-final with Arsenal.

But Ferguson believes Everton are "hungry" for success and will present his side with a formidable challenge.

"My problem on Sunday is that we are facing a hungry team," added Ferguson.

"They want to win a trophy but we have got to make sure we are on top of our game."

England defender Wes Brown returned to training on Friday after a lengthy knee injury, although the tie comes too soon for the player.

However, Ferguson intends to make changes to the team which defeated Porto in midweek and advanced to the last four stage of the Champions League.

"Wednesday was a very high tempo game," said Ferguson.

"There's a loss of energy in parts of the team and I have to recognise that. I will be making changes."

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