| 11.7°C Dublin

Benitez defiant after Cup flop

RAFA Benitez won't budge. Even the embarrassment of a tame exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Reading -- and a chorus of boos from the Kop -- won't be enough to shift him.

Unfortunately for the Spaniard, the day he signed Maxi Rodriguez will now be remembered as another nail in Benitez's coffin, instead of a turning point in Liverpool's fortunes.

Defeat and a humiliating Cup elimination by Championship opposition will be added to an ever increasing list of disastrous nights at Anfield this season but Benitez will continue to plough on doggedly.

"As a manager you have to be disappointed because we couldn't progress, but now we need to think about the next game against Stoke," he said.

"From the beginning of the season, we have been a little bit frustrated but we have to carry on. When you are in the race you need to keep going.

"It was a really bad result for us. Everybody wanted to progress in the FA Cup and now we can't and we are really disappointed.

"Sometimes you have bad moments and sometimes you have good moments. We have to be ready for the next game and just be focused on football," said Benitez.

However, that will become ever more difficult as the clamour for his removal on Merseyside grows by the day.

"This has been the same for the last three months. Everybody has been talking about me but I will keep working hard with my team," claimed a defiant Benitez.

Further fitness trouble for Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun added injury to insult for Liverpool fans.

"Both players will have a scan and we have to wait for the doctor," said Benitez. "Gerrard has a problem with his hamstring and Torres twisted his knee. Yossi Benayoun also has some problems with his ribs so again, we will have to wait."

While Benitez frowned, Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long could hardly contain his delight after scoring the extra-time winner, his first goal since April, which gives Reading an away tie against Burnley in the next round.

"I won't forget that goal -- it's been a long time coming," Long said afterwards. "But I'm more delighted with the win, to be honest. I thought we were unlucky not to win the first game, but we put up a great fight here and I think that we deserved it.

Long now believes that caretaker boss Brian McDermott deserves a chance to take on the job for real.

"I'd like to think we have got him the job full-time now. I certainly think he deserves a chance and after this he must have a good shout."


Privacy