Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville: How players reacted to Rafa Benitez's 'facts' rant
Last Updated: 10/10/17 4:14pm
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have revealed how Liverpool and Manchester United's players reacted to Rafa Benitez's infamous "facts" rant in 2009.
Liverpool were seven points ahead of their rivals in the Premier League title race in January of the 2008/09 season when the Spaniard stunned a press conference by taking out a piece of paper and listing some "facts", intended for Sir Alex Ferguson.
United went on to win the title that season and while Carragher said the incident didn't distract the players, he can't understand why Benitez felt the need to speak out.
He told Gary Neville's Soccerbox: "To be honest, I don't think Ferguson had got in his head and he thought he had to say something,
"I think it was actually started by Rafa, I don't think it was something Ferguson had done.
"Rafa, on the Friday, mentioned to me he was going to say something in his press conference before it happened - so it was pre-meditated. It wasn't a reaction to something.
"I didn't know what he was going to say. Still to this day people always say it affected us, but I don't think it did because we only lost two games in the whole season. It wasn't like we completely went off the rails.
"I just don't know why he did it. The only thing I'm thinking of, if I'm being totally honest, is we were going for the league and it was Rafa sort of calling it on with [Manchester United]."
Neville remembers watching the news conference on television - and believes Ferguson would have been delighted by the outburst.
He said: "I remember being at home that day, watching Sky Sports News and thinking 'what's he done?'
"It was reported that 'he's cracking up' and then the fans start singing 'Rafa's cracking up' and it did feel like the pressure was getting to him.
"You can imagine Sir Alex being at home being like 'I've got him'.
"If you're going to call it on with another manager you've got to be sure to win. He was taking Sir Alex on on his own patch: mind games.
"Everyone had talked for 20 years about mind games, even if it didn't exist - and then all of a sudden it looked like he was cracking up."
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