Rafa Not Interested In What Big Sam Says

Last updated : 01 May 2016 By Footy Mad - Editor

Image result for Rafael Benitez

However, 56-year-old Benitez, who famously found himself on the other end of Sir Alex Ferguson's mind games during his spell in charge at Liverpool, is concentrating only on the task of securing another three points to keep Newcastle's desperate survival bid alive.

He said: "I don't think (Allardyce's comments) will make a lot of difference, especially when you have a lot of foreign players.

"When I was in Italy, the Spanish players did not read the press. They watch the telly sometimes, but the foreign players are not following the news, so do not care what someone might be saying.

"Sometimes it is the way of some managers, but it does not change too much the way I approach the game. My job is to concentrate on my team."

However, Benitez admitted he does know from personal experience ahead of Liverpool's Champions League final showdown with AC Milan in 2005 how the prospect of a big game can affect players.

He said: "We finished fifth, so that explains everything.

"When I was pushing my players in my first year at Liverpool, we were in the final of the Carling Cup in February and everyone was excited, but after that when you are in Champions League final...

"I remember we lost against Birmingham and I was pushing the players and every time we were losing, I said to them, 'We have an opportunity' and they were reacting.

"But you never know, in the back of their heads was the final and you lose something. You lose something because you are just so focused on the final."

Palace's visit to St James' Park sees their manager Alan Pardew return to a a club where he spent four often controversial years at the helm, and he can expect a mixed reaction at best, although Benitez has urged the home fans to focus on what they can do to help his players in the club's hour of need.

He said: "Everyone will have their own opinion. But for me the main thing is once we start, they have to support the team like they have been doing in the past because that makes a difference."