Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez says he is "a bit old" for nerves as he prepares for his debut on the nerazzurro bench for Saturday's Italian Supercup against AS Roma.
Benitez took over from Jose Mourinho in the summer and will be looking to continue the success he achieved at his previous clubs now he has come to Italy. The 50-year-old Spaniard won two titles and the UEFA Cup with Valencia in Spain while leading Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup crowns.
Now, just over a month since the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ final, he faces the task of motivating his team to concentrate on the new season. "We're happy to be playing this match against Roma tomorrow," said Benitez. "After a World Cup it's of course never easy to start the new season but we've been working over the summer to be ready.
"Am I nervous? I'm a bit old, I've got a bit too much experience for that. Still it's a final, but for me it's a challenge like any other and that's the way it should be, it's not strange to be nervous.
"The next game is always the most important," he added. "We're working hard to improve in every training session. You can always improve, even if you've already won a lot. Of course we haven't had a lot of time but we've still done our best, not least because the players are all ready to learn new things."
Benitez refused to be drawn on jibes from his predecessor that he will never beat his achievements. "Mourinho said I won't win as much as him, well the first thing we have to do is win this one," he added. "The team wants to win, they've won three trophies and now they can win another one, and we'll be giving our all."
Benitez is particularly looking forward to renewing his rivalry with Claudio Ranieri who coached in Spain at the same time as him. And the former Liverpool boss admitted he tried to learn from his Italian colleague.
"Roma are a good team with a good coach and quality players. Tomorrow is a final, it will be as difficult as all finals are. I have a good relationship with Ranieri. When we were younger I went to Florence (where Ranieri was Fiorentina coach) to see how he trained. It was a great moment."