Benitez believes Inter can still catch Milan

Rafa Benitez is positive that his Inter side can come back stronger in the New Year and eat into the huge gap to leaders Milan in a bid to defend their title. Inter are currently 13 points adrift of their city rivals albeit with a game in hand.
Benitez feels that the return of many of the injured players and the tactical choices that it provides him with shall give the Nerazzurri a real chance to fight for the Scudetto.
“I don’t think AC Milan are too far ahead. We can make up the ground: it’s been done plenty of times. We just need to put a run together, win three or four on the bounce at the right time and suddenly it all looks very different.”
Benitez’s Inter side are currently in Abu Dhabi where they will play against TP Mazembe of DR Congo in the Club World Cup finals on Saturday. The team is coming off an impressive 3-0 win against Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa but the Spaniard is fully concentrated on the task at hand.
“At the moment we’re focused on the Club World Cup because we’re determined to do well and win it. Mazembe will be a totally different opponent from the one we played in the semi-final. They are a strong side physically, almost like the Congolese national side.”
Mazembe have been by far the biggest surprise of the tournament so far as they first Pachuca of Mexico in the quarter-finals before pulling off a shock win against Brazilian side Internacional. They have now become the first ever African representatives in the finals of the Club World Cup.
“They are a group that work hard, they never give up, they run just as fast even when they are tired. They are an opponent worthy of respect, because one does not make it this far if there aren’t important motivations and something good.”
Benitez came in for a tremendous amount of criticism because of Inter’s poor run of form which saw the side slip to five defeats in seven games prior to the Club World Cup. While many insisted that he be sacked, the ex-Liverpool Coach says that he has always been calm.
“Criticism arrived more from the journalists than from the fans. The supporters in Milan have always shown themselves to back the team and the coach. It is clear, they expect to see wins, but this is natural. Let’s say then, that if we win it will become easier for some to change their mind.”

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