Benitez: I'm no Mourinho
New Inter Milan boss Rafael Benitez has insisted comparisons with predecessor Jose Mourinho were wide of the mark. Benitez was today unveiled as the new Inter boss following his departure from Liverpool and Mourinho's switch to Real Madrid.
The Spaniard is hoping to maintain the Nerazzurri's recent success after Mourinho led them to the Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League treble last season. But he is adamant his approach will differ to that of the Portuguese.
"I don't think I am the anti-Mourinho but I am different," he said. "I am a coach who likes winning, who likes playing good football, though, so I don't think we are different in that."
Benitez was delighted to have landed at Inter after a difficult end to his six-year spell at Anfield. He added: "The main idea of Inter and of Italy is that you breathe football. You breathe football and I like that. The club is a great one and we will try to do everything possible to be the best."
Benitez faces a daunting task in following in Mourinho's footsteps but he is confident that it is the start of an "historic period" for the club and he knows the players must maintain their winning mentality.
"Inter are coming off an almost perfect year. I want the footballers not to lose the desire to win. I want to keep that winning mentality and I think I can," said Benitez.
"I'm happy to have top-class players. The difficulty will be keeping this level but we can do that. I think the level is high and if we can keep that winning spirit I think we can do well. If the players can do the same again this year, for two more years or even more....it will be an historic period for the club."
Mourinho was often criticised for a lack of attractive football. And, while Benitez claims his aim is to entertain on the pitch, he insists trophies come first.
He said: "I think that's a difficult question. What's good football for you? For me? For our fans? We all know that in England you play a more direct game, Spain is more about short passes. Here we play differently to Spain, what's better?
"The mentality is always to win playing well and playing well depends on the players you have. I have the mentality of winning playing good football. I think the players are good and they like playing good football. We'll try to win playing good football but what's most important is winning."
Speculation is rife that Benitez will raid Liverpool for his former players. The 50-year-old remained tight-lipped on possible transfer targets, though, insisting his first aim is to get to know the players already at the San Siro.
"I've only been here two days," said Benitez. "It's important to talk about important players, and there will be time for that. I will try to buy good players, of a good level who will suit a top level club but I can't say their names. Good players.
"I don't talk about players of other teams. We have to analyse the future and then we will decide what player we want. It's always difficult to improve something that has worked so well.
"We are analysing everything, I think we can do it but I prefer to work calmly now in the club and then think of other things. I'm very happy to be here. Very happy and very proud."
Benitez is looking to get off to the best possible start in Italy as there are immediately two trophies up for grabs in the Italian and European Supercups and the Spaniard is going to be demanding the most of his new players.
He continued: "We have the possibility to win six trophies this year. I have that experience because with Liverpool we faced the European Supercup and the Community Shield quickly after each other.
"We have to work hard because there are hard battles waiting for us in August," he said. "I like working hard, like working with players, like being a teacher. I like pushing the players because that way they learn. That could be positive or a defect because sometimes players get angry."