Benitez hits back at Materazzi

BY foxsports • January 22, 2013

Eintracht Frankfurt coach Armin Veh has urged the club to sign a new striker but the fear of a possible significant fine for fan disorder could be preventing the board from committing to new spending.

Veh has seen his striking options depleted with Benjamin Kohler sold to Kaiserslautern, Dorge Kouemaha expected to have his loan cut short as Club Brugge plan a sale, and Rob Friend set for talks with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Veh is desperate for reinforcements to keep his side's challenge for Champions League football alive.

"Since we have seen Kohler, Friend and Kouemaha go, it is absolutely necessary to do something," he said in Kicker.

However, it is not clear if the club's board will sanction a signing.

Their 3-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday was marred by fireworks and flares from the visiting supporters, causing the match to be halted for almost 10 minutes.

Eintracht have issued a formal apology, but with their fans considered among the worst offenders in the Bundesliga they are at possible risk of a stadium ban and or a fine.

That could see the cost run to seven figures, limiting their ability to act in the transfer market.

"We could be charged," added Veh. "But that's no longer my problem."

Wilson has made only nine first-team appearances for Liverpool since his multi-million pound move from Rangers in July 2010.

Then 18, Wilson had played 25 times for the Ibrox club, including in the Champions League, and won Scottish Premier League and League Cup winners' medals in his only season in the first team.

But he has no regrets about making the switch despite admitting his Anfield career looks likely to end when his contract expires in the summer.

"I wouldn't say it backfired," said Wilson, who made his Hearts debut in Saturday's 4-1 defeat by Celtic 24 hours after signing until the end of the campaign.

"I didn't play as much as I hoped when I went down there. But it served its purpose.

"I left Rangers with the intention to become a better football player. I feel I have done that so I don't think it backfired.

"I don't regret anything. I made the decision at the time and I have to stand by my decision.

"I've learned things that I don't know if I would have learned.

"I was playing against better players in training, the likes of (Luis) Suarez. You can only learn from that. I just want to put what I had into practice in games now."

Wilson, who has five full caps for Scotland, has not played under Brendan Rodgers and does not expect to.

"It's going to be difficult for me to have a future at Liverpool," the 21-year-old said.

"They have four centre-backs there who are fighting for two positions really.

"You see players who played in past seasons not playing as much now.

"I have not really managed to force my way in. My only thinking now is to get out and play and what happens, happens.

"But that's not for me to decide, if Brendan Rodgers wants me. If not I will do what's best for me, and what's best for me now is to be playing football."

Wilson only played a few minutes in his recent loan move to Bristol City, although a minor hamstring problem cut short his stay.

And he is just concentrating on playing first-team games rather than looking further ahead, with Saturday's Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final against Inverness next up.

"I'm not really thinking too much into the future, I'm just thinking about the here and now," Wilson said.

"I've not played much football recently so the most important thing is to get out and play.

"I'm at Hearts now and I am focusing on doing as well as I can for them.

"I'm a footballer who just wants to play football. I'm going to be out of contract and it's better for me to be playing.

"Whichever way it looks, whether it's a shop window or to do well at Hearts, I'm here to do both and hopefully they marry together."

Wilson would not rule out a longer-term stay at Hearts, but the club could struggle to put together a deal given they are set to further cut their playing budget in the summer.

"I don't see why not," when asked about the possibility of staying at Tynecastle.

"Time will tell. I need to do well first and foremost, I can't just assume I will be here for a few years. I need to earn that right.

"Anything that happens, happens, but the next few weeks and months are the most important thing for me right now."

Since his largely unpopular appointment as Roberto Di Matteo's successor, Benitez has had to battle derision from Chelsea fans and now Italy defender Materazzi has added his voice to the critics.

Materazzi described life under Benitez at Inter as like "being back at school", suggested the Spaniard had been lined-up as Jose Mourinho's successor while the Portuguese was in position and had told him to take down photographs in his locker of his former coaches.

"He's lying," Benitez said.

"Marco Materazzi is lying. He's lying, just lying. Everything that he said is a lie. Simple.

"When he was talking with Mourinho it's a lie, because nobody knew I was going to Inter, even me. It's a lie.

"About the pictures, it's a lie. So he's a liar."

Benitez refused to discuss off-field events at Chelsea, including contract discussions for senior players like John Terry, who is in line for a return to the starting XI in the Capital One League Cup semi-final second leg at Swansea.

Benitez refused to comment on reports of Real Madrid boss Mourinho, who was popular and hugely successful during his spell at Stamford Bridge, being in regular contact with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic and players in west London.

Benitez said: "In Spain, as in England, we have the same situation: we have a window for football, tactics and Swansea; there is another window for other issues.

"We talk about contracts and other things at the other window. This window is for football and tactics."

Midfielder Frank Lampard's time appears likely to end this summer, Benitez pointed to the non-football window when asked about Terry, whose current deal has 18 months remaining.

Terry has not started since November 11 when he suffered a knee injury in the first half of the draw with Liverpool.

The 32-year-old defender has made just one brief substitute appearance since, against Stoke, and was an unused replacement for the draw with Southampton and Sunday's defeat of Arsenal.

Asked if Terry has been frustrated by his lack of match action since returning to contention, Benitez added: "No. I think he knows he will need time.

"We have a plan with him and we're working, following the plan.

"He's training well. He will need match fitness. He'll be involved in the squad and is an option."

Despite needing to beat Swansea by at least three goals to advance, Benitez is unlikely to partner Fernando Torres and ?7million signing Demba Ba up front.

He said: "It's not easy for us to play both at the same time given the quality of the players playing behind. It's an option for 15 minutes, and we can do it if necessary.

"We have confidence that we can do it. It's not easy, but we've done it before in other stadiums and we can do it.

"We have to score and win. For them, it depends: 2-0 up, they could wait and play counter-attack.

"They could try to pass the ball and attack, but I think they will wait for us.

"We have to go there and try to win. Not just 1-0 - we have to do a bit better than that. But we can do it. We have enough quality."

The Capital One Cup is an important competition for Chelsea after Benitez recently made it clear he believed they were out of the Premier League title race.

Defender Gary Cahill contradicted his manager, saying following Sunday's win over Arsenal which saw his side move 11 points behind leaders Manchester United, that Chelsea are not out of contention for a domestic treble.

"He (Cahill) has confidence in the team," Benitez added.

"He knows we can win. If we want to win three trophies, we'll have to win this game."

With speculation linking Pep Guardiola to Chelsea at an end following his agreement to coach Bayern Munich, a trophy would strengthen Benitez's claims for a permanent contract.

The former Liverpool boss again gestured to the other window.

"I'm really pleased to be here, to have a great job in a top side, and I'll try to do my best until the end," he said.

"I'd like to win trophies and to have the opportunity to challenge for trophies."


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