Italy’s World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi has hailed Rafa Benitez ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League final which sees Liverpool meet Milan.
Lippi has been particularly impressed with the manner in which Benitez gets the best out of his players in crucial matches.
“Benitez has the rare characteristics of a great tactician,” said Lippi.
“He gets the best out of his players, especially at a crucial time in a competition, even if his team’s quality may be inferior to that of their opponents.
“He is practical and precise.”
Lippi concedes his compatriots face a tough task if they are to exact revenge for the 2005 penalty shootout defeat to Liverpool.
“Liverpool defend very well,” he added. “They are strong on the counter-attack and have Steven Gerrard, who controls a strong midfield alongside Xabi Alonso.
“Then they have Peter Crouch in attack, who is an effective forward. I don’t want to make any predictions.
“There is one certainty, though, and that is that Milan go into the encounter in great condition physically and mentally.
“They go into the final in confident mood having played a great game against Manchester United.”