Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rafa sets his sights on Europa League

Rafa Benitez has vowed to give the Europa League his best shot ahead of Thursday's clash with Unirea Urziceni.

Liverpool would prefer to be preparing for a UEFA Champions League knockout tie but could only finish third in their group before Christmas and consequently dropped into Europe's secondary competition.

They begin their campaign against Romanian outfit Unirea at Anfield and Benitez is looking forward to the challenge.

The Spanish tactician will have to balance his continental ambitions with trying to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League but he believes competing on two fronts could work in the Reds' favour.

"It is always difficult but when you have been a manager for a while, with different teams, sometimes you were only playing once a week, trying to avoid relegation," Benitez said.

"When you have experience, you know all about the different feelings.

"Clearly I would prefer to be fighting for the title or for the Champions League but you must accept the situation.

"You have to be positive and turn things in your favour. Now we have another opportunity (of playing in Europe) and we must try to keep playing better.

"We have got to keep progressing in the Europa League and aim to finish as high as we can in the Premier League."

Liverpool are among the favourites to lift the Europa League trophy in Hamburg on 12th May but Benitez does not expect it to be easy.

"There are still big clubs involved," he stated. "If we can get through a couple of rounds, though, I'm sure the atmosphere will be really good because the fans want to see us winning trophies."

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