Benitez took Liverpool to an FA Cup triumph in 2006 when they beat Alan Pardew’s West Ham side 3-1 on penalties after the game had finished at 3-3 after 90 minutes.
That was after Steven Gerrard had equalized in the 91st minute with a tremendous long distance effort.
Rafa also took Liverpool to the League Cup final the year earlier in 2005 (when they won the Champions League) but they were beaten 3-2 by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea after extra time; the teams had been level at 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager
So Rafa has had good runs in both local cup competitions and today has told the Chronicle that he will try to win the League Cup this year.
But Rafa has also said that if we are to start to win trophies Newcastle must be in the Premier League and we would have to strengthen the side with better players.
This is what he has said today:
“I have been here for so many years now that I know what the FA Cup and the League Cup means to the fans.” “It’s really important to approach the competition seriously and try to win.”
“But we don’t go around telling everyone we will win the trophy.”
“If we win this game we will see what happens in the draw and see what happens in the next game and how to approach that.”
“We have changed players for every game.” “Everybody can expect some changes but they can be sure we will have a strong team on the pitch.”
“When you are in a cup competition or you progress a little bit the fans then expect.”
“As I have said we will take the competition seriously and will try to win, but you can’t talk like that too much.”
“What we have to do is concentrate on nothing but the next game, then after that analyse it.”
“We are in a position now where we can manage the squad with a strong team. That is what we try to do.”
“If we go through maybe we would change things – if we had a massive game in the league we’d do it.”
“I won’t lie to fans and say we will try to go all the way and win the final.” “If we can, we can, but we will be playing against very strong teams.”
“We know that if we want more chances to win trophies in the future we have to be stronger.”
“To be stronger is to get to the Premier League and have more income and more money to buy better players.”
“If you are stronger you can then compete against anyone.”
Rafa’s right – but it would be great to beat Preston tonight and then get a home draw in the next round – the quarter finals.
Anything would be possible if that happened.