Gerrard hails Benitez's methods

26 September 2009 11:46
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes Rafa Benitez operates on a 'different level' to other managers after revealing how he has adapted to his boss' methods.

Former Valencia chief Benitez arrived at Anfield in 2004 and has since guided the Reds to UEFA Champions League glory and an FA Cup win, while also transforming a struggling side into genuine Premier League title contenders.

England international Gerrard has been an inspirational on-field influence throughout the Spaniard's five-year tenure and has risen to a status as one of the best players in the world.

But the Liverpool skipper confesses that he found it difficult to adapt to Benitez's meticulous methods before realising that his manager's dedication is what is required for success.

"Even after five years with Rafa, I still feel I want to please him, that I want to impress him in every game I play," Gerrard told the Daily Mail.

Lucky"The great managers are like that. There are a handful operating on a different level and I am lucky enough to play for two of them, Benitez and (England boss) Fabio Capello.

"It is when you see what they put in, some of the little things they spot, that you realise how hard they work. Rafa will make a point, and you'll be thinking, 'has this guy not got a life?' because it seems so minor, but it is what sets him apart.

"I can have a good game - tell you what, I'll be big-headed, say I've had a fantastic game - we've won 2-1 in the last minute and I've scored both.

"I come back into the dressing-room and I'm buzzing, bouncing off the walls, thinking, 'I feel good today', that is when Rafa comes up and starts talking about a throw-in when they changed the play and I pressed far too late. He'll say, 'if you want, we'll go out there and I'll show you'.

"Or you'll have a run of 10 games when you're in form and flying and he'll pop you a DVD of your recent play and it's broken up into sections good and bad. And you're thinking, 'hang on, bad? I didn't do anything wrong'. But you'll watch it and you're out of position in one match, or you pressed late or you let a man go at a set-piece. You wonder when the guy sleeps.

Danger"At first when he did things like that, I'd be asking, 'has he not watched my last 150 games for Liverpool?' There is a danger that you think he has it in for you because he pulls you so much.

"When he arrived, he would keep saying to me, 'left foot, left foot' or I'd shoot and he would say, 'hit the target' and I'm thinking, 'look, mate, I'm trying to hit the target'.

"I would say to people, 'I'm 26 - if he doesn't think my left foot's working now, it's never going to work' but then a few weeks later I scored with my left and he came up with a little smile and said, 'lucky goal today, left foot and it hit the target' and then the penny dropped.

"Finally, I realised it was the way he helped push you on and as a player, you either recognised it or fought it and, with these guys, if you fight it there is only one winner."

Source: SKY_Sports

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