London – Chelsea interim coach Rafael Benitez has launched a barb at his old sparring partner Alex Ferguson by claiming the Manchester United manager's attempts to influence match officials are “obvious”.
During his time as Liverpool manager, Benitez famously lost his patience with Ferguson in the 2008-09 season, claiming that the Scot was never punished for haranguing referees and their assistants.
“I always try to concentrate on my job, but at that time with Ferguson I was defending my club,” Benitez told Wednesday's edition of British newspaper The Times.
“I could see what was happening from my point of view, and maybe now a lot of people are seeing the same things. I will not talk too much about that because it's obvious.”
Ferguson's conduct towards officials is back in the headlines after he criticised assistant referee Simon Beck for failing to flag for a United penalty in the Premier League leaders' 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Ferguson accused Beck of having a “shocking” game and said the visiting side “never got anything from that side of the pitch”.
The Football Association has asked Ferguson to explain his comments.
“It's a question for the FA what they do about it,” Benitez added.
“What I said at that time (2009) was what I thought, and what I'm seeing now is similar.
“It depends on the FA. I don't know what they will do – it depends on them. At this moment in time I have enough things to do here, so I want to concentrate on my job.” – Sapa-AFP