Benitez gets dreaded vote of confidence from Inter chief Moratti
Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has assured Rafael Benitez he has his full confidence despite the former Liverpool manager overseeing the European champions' worst run since 2004.
Inter's defeat at Chievo on Sunday was the Italian champions' fifth consecutive game without a win and left them sixth in Serie A, nine points adrift of leaders and fierce rivals AC Milan.
Some reports in Italy have even suggested that Moratti has identified Luciano Spalletti -- fresh from guiding Zenit St Petersburg to the Russian championship -- to replace the Spaniard after just four months at the San Siro.
The oil magnate yesterday moved to offer Benitez his full backing, though his admission that Inter cannot afford to lose tomorrow's Champions League meeting with Twente -- in which Inter need a point to qualify for the last 16 -- indicates the precariousness of the 50-year-old's position.
"Benitez has my faith, but we must try to get a good result because it is rather important," said Moratti. "The coach and the squad must understand that Wednesday's game is very important.
"In situations like this, the most important thing is patience. Everything cannot always go well. We just have to hope we start to get a bit of luck. I am pleased to have the feeling that the team and the club have certainly not shown a lack of confidence in (Benitez)."
Though Benitez's immediate predecessor, Jose Mourinho, who led Inter to an unprecedented Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia treble, has been reluctant to sympathise with his former Premier League foe, another former Inter manager, Roberto Mancini, is more forgiving.
The Manchester City manager, who led Inter to three Serie A titles in his four years at the club, believes an injury crisis, which has left Benitez without Maicon, Wesley Sneijder, Walter Samuel and Esteban Cambiasso at various points this season, as well as a hangover from last year, are more relevant to their poor start than the manager's failings.
"Benitez is not new to this job," said Mancini. "He is a strong, experienced coach. I think the problem is primarily the injured players. He has been very unfortunate." (© Daily Telegraph, London)