Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says Rafael Benitez is lucky to have the chance to win trophies at Chelsea. Photo by:Luke MacGregor

London – Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson aimed an early jibe at old adversary Rafael Benitez on Friday, saying the Spaniard is lucky to have the chance to win trophies with Chelsea.

The Scot, who had a number of run-ins with Benitez when he was in charge at Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, said the new Chelsea interim manager Benitez could count himself very fortunate.

“Of course, Rafa Benitez is very lucky because on his CV in two weeks' time he could have two world club titles to his name and had nothing to do with the teams,” Ferguson said.

“Jose Mourinho won the treble at Inter; Rafa took over and they won the world title without having to do anything.

“He had nothing to do with the construction of the teams – that's why I really feel disappointment for Roberto (Di Matteo) – he could have an FA Cup, Champions League and Club World Cup on his CV. It's a pity for him.”

Di Matteo was sacked by Chelsea on Wednesday after a poor run which has seen them drop from first to third and to the verge of elimination from the Champions League in the group stages.

“Everyone feels for Roberto Di Matteo and quite rightly,” Ferguson said of the Italian, who lost his job just six months after leading Chelsea to Champions League and FA Cup victory.

“It's quite amazing when you consider he has won the FA Cup and Champions League.

“The biggest disappointment for me is in two weeks' time they are going to play in the Club World Cup. You would have thought they would have waited two weeks to give the guy a chance to win a world title.

But Ferguson did say he wished Benitez luck in one regard – when Chelsea take on another of their title rivals, Manchester City, at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

“Benitez has been trying to get a job for a long time,” Ferguson said. “I hope he is lucky on Sunday too.

“It happens time and time again when a new manager comes in they win their first few games. We've seen it before, it's a strange thing how it happens.” – Sapa-dpa