Liverpool co-owner George Gillett has offered his backing to Rafael Benitez, claiming he is one of the top five managers in the world.
Benitez has come under pressure following Liverpool’s poor run which has seen them fall well off the pace in the Premier League, and suffer early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup. However, the Spaniard has received the backing of Gillett, who claims the current form is just a blip.
”We believe if you were to put a list together of the top five coaches, managers in the world, he would definitely be on that list for us,” said Gillett. ”And we think he’s been tossed a curve ball by circumstance, injuries and so forth.
”I think that’s been a real challenge to the coach. He’s had to really make some innovations and play some players out of position and so forth. And notwithstanding that, they’ve generally played with a lot of passion. I really believes it’s a blip.”
Injuries have not helped Liverpool’s predicament with striker Fernando Torres, captain Steven Gerrard, right-back Glen Johnson and midfielder Yossi Benayoun all currently sidelined. But they have also been unlucky in other areas, such as when a beach ball on the pitch at Sunderland contributed to the only goal of the game for the Black Cats.
”That was a real low blow,” Gillett told Canadian radio station Prime Time Sports. ”He (Benitez) has had a struggle getting the morale of the boys back up but we’ve got a great group of young men.”