Manchester United Boss Sir Alex Ferguson: Rafael Benitez Will Struggle In Jose Mourinho's Inter Shadow

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Inter coach Rafael Benitez will not achieve what Jose Mourinho did with the club.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Rafa Benitez will not achieve the marker of status set down by Jose Mourinho at Inter.

Mourinho, now of Real Madrid fame, rekindled Inter's relationship with the Champions League with knowledge, taste and intellect.

He established power and authority in Europe, delivering the trophy for the first time in 45 years at the club.

Mourinho also forged an apparatus of the modern, successful European club side at San Siro, but Ferguson feels Benitez will find it hard to climb this term.

"It's tough to take the place of someone who has won as much as Mourinho," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"One day whoever succeeds me at United will have the same handicap.

"In all cases, every coach who has respect for himself must give their own identity to the team.

"And you can be certain that beating Inter will always be difficult.

"The European champions have all of my respect. I bet on Inter against Barcelona in the semi-final. Jose prepared for it like a champion. And what a phenomenon Cambiasso was on Messi."

Ferguson shifted the focus onto the Premier League and said the title will be a three-team affair, aware Chelsea are the touchstone with which to be measured.

"Chelsea finished last season filling in the weaker teams with goals," he said.

"Anyway they keep winning like champions and who wants to win this Premier League must definitely square up with Chelsea.

"Manchester United have started discreetly, like Arsenal. Us and the Gunners will be in competition with Chelsea until the end.

"It's too soon to make predictions, but we cannot forget Tottenham's progress.

"[Gerard] Houllier will need time at Aston Villa. The disappointment is Everton. I had them among the favourites: they only have two points.

"Manchester City haven't started very well, but with the squad [Roberto] Mancini has they definitely have to be in the running. I have seen them beat Liverpool 3-0, showing power and quality.

"Mancini has bought half a new team. It's difficult to find the right chemistry quickly. When they find continuity they will be a threat for everyone."

And with Italy's stars turning their hand to English football, Ferguson believes the future is bright blue for the Azzurri.

"Mario Balotelli has extraordinary potential for a 20-year-old. It's a shame about his injury," added the Scotsman.

"We hope to see him in action soon. Federico Macheda is only 19 and he is doing magnificently.

"What a future for the Italian national team when they are both ready together. I am very satisfied with 'Chicco'. He is simply fantastic."

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