Benitez on attack over cup criticism

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The Independent Online

Remorse was nowhere to be seen at Liverpool yesterday where the manager Rafael Benitez met criticism of his Carling Cup selection with a response of equal ferocity, the Spaniard dismissing the competition's worth and calling for a sense of perspective at a club that has not claimed the championship for 16 years.

Benitez has endured troubled weeks in England before, notably after the third round FA Cup exit at Burnley in his first season and following a Carling Cup defeat by Crystal Palace last term, only to win the argument convincingly with silverware in May. Yet having lost in both domestic cup competitions to Arsenal inside four days and criticised his board for a lack of investment in young players, this has been an exceptionally trying week for Benitez.

"I have a responsibility," he explained. "I picked a team I thought would win us the game but I also thought about the future. The future of this club is not about the semi-finals of the Carling Cup, it is about winning the Premier League and the Champions' League.

"We won the Champions' League and so we were able to buy [Jose] Reina, [Mohamed] Sissoko, [Peter] Crouch and [Bolo] Zenden. No one talks about us reaching the Carling Cup final two years ago, they only talk about winning the Champions' League in Istanbul."