Rafael Benitez has been discussing his selection policy as we prepare for another Barclays Premier League away day.
We travel to Liverpool tomorrow seeking to consolidate our position within the Champions League spots, with Benitez expected to again change his side from that which started against Fulham on Wednesday. He believes there is nothing unusual about the decision.
‘We talk about rotation policy like it is something strange,’ the Spaniard said. ‘I can understand that years ago you wouldn’t hear too much about that, but when they talked about my rotation policy, Sir Alex Ferguson was rotating more players than me.
‘In a top side, you have to change players because two games a week is not easy. You change one player, you change the team. I changed the team 99 times and people were talking about that, and Ferguson was doing it more, 119 times. Jose Mourinho too, doing the same, because they were top teams playing two games a week. Everybody was rotating players.’
Benitez accepts players will be disappointed at not playing games, but believes they can be kept happy with dialogue.
‘Every player is different and we have to talk to them in a different way,’ he said. ‘I can talk with Juan Mata and tell him he is doing really well, or talk to Hazard to motivate him. Demba Ba, Lampard, Petr Cech, every player has his personality and you have to talk to him in a different way.’
Looking at the past week, Benitez touched on his selections against Manchester City and Fulham, explaining he felt both were good enough to win those games.
‘The FA Cup semi-final was a massive game, but we agreed that Fulham was also a massive game, really important for us. For that match we picked a team with good players on the pitch and we won.
‘All our players can play three times a week. All of them are fit. Everybody can play, and the priority is the team. Everybody has to be ready, and to support the team.
‘My commitment is to win every game, so I pick the team to do that, the best team possible for every game.’