It feels really good

Last updated : 19 January 2005 By Tony Scholes

Much will be said of Rafael Benitez’ decision to make eight changes from the side that lost to Manchester United last Saturday but it was a decision that the Liverpool boss thought he had right.

“We don’t have the squad to compete in four competitions at the top level,” he cried after seeing his side lose at the first hurdle in the FA Cup. “You cannot play all those games with the same players, it is impossible,” he added.

“If I’d used more senior players, perhaps we might have had problems in the next game (at Southampton on Saturday) or in the Champions League. We played against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup with young players and won, so we tried to do the same here. I don’t think it was a mistake. The fans will understand that we tried and worked hard, I cannot ask for more from them.

“It was a bad mistake for the goal. He had a man coming at him and tried to control it when he should have just cleared the danger. It was a mistake. “

He ended by saying, “We have a lot of injuries and we have to give people time to recover and to be ready for the Premier League, the Champions League and next week in the Carling Cup semi-final.”

Steve Cotterill said it was his greatest night in football as a manager and was full of praise for his players.

“It feels really good and I’m delighted for the boys, I though they were excellent tonight. I think we were the better team in the first half, but then they were perhaps better in the second half. We had to dig deep because we didn’t get the goals we needed and we managed to hang in there.

“The pitch was hard physically for both teams and it was important we dug in. It’s just a great night for us and it is important that we say and do the right things and we’ll be humble about it. The last time we had a good cup win, I remember we went and got bashed at QPR a few days later. We have to do the right things and make sure we don’t do the same at Cardiff.”

Looking forward to the next round against his old club Bournemouth Cotterill added, “It will be a hard game for us but I probably know as much about their team as I do about my own players. I know they will be well organised and will be well prepared for the match and will have a few tricks up their sleeve. We will have to be ready.”