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Gillett Jr. impressed with Rafa Benitez after Liverpool win

Gillett Jr. impressed with Rafa Benitez after Liverpool win

Liverpool co-owner George Gillett Jr. has even more respect for manager Rafa Benitez after watching the Reds advance to the Champions League final.
Gillett, who bought the club with American businessman Tom Hicks in March, was besieged by celebrating fans after Liverpool defeated Chelsea on penalty kicks at Tuesday's match at Anfield.
He said Benitez had been "tremendous" in guiding Liverpool to its second Champions League final in three years.
"We knew of him, but I don't think we realized how good he was _ and not just as a coach," Gillett said. "Not only was he a brilliant coach, but he is a very sharp, savvy businessman. He knows what he wants and how to get it. The more we have seen of him the more impressed we have become."
Benitez joined Liverpool in June 2004 from Spanish club Valencia.
Gillett said he would be at the May 23 final in Athens, Greece, where Liverpool will face either Manchester United or AC Milan.
"You bet I will be in Athens, I have seen some marvelous games already in Europe and that will be another," Gillett said.
Gillett said he and Hicks had been "hugely impressed" by the way Liverpool fans had accepted them.
"They are amazing," he said. "Everywhere Tom and I go it is the same: people are pleased and so welcoming. I wanted to shake their hands, to embrace them at the end because they had been magnificent for their team."
Hicks said plans for building a new stadium at nearby Stanley Park were going well. Gillett and Hicks will bankroll the new venue, which will replace the 45,000-capacity Anfield ground where the Reds have been since 1892.
"On the new stadium, we will honor the plans already in place, but things are being changed," Hicks said. "We have talked to people and we do not want to start over with the plans again.
"So far we have worked on its insides, the outside is next, but we are near to being able to announce our new plans."
The new stadium is expected to seat 60,000 people.


Updated : 2020-12-04 17:09 GMT+08:00