Benitez shifts focus back to title race

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Football News

Rafael Benitez is pleased his contract wrangle is now a thing of the past so his Liverpool team can concentrate on the title race.

Their first opportunity to build on last weekend's outstanding victory at Manchester United will be when Aston Villa - who are still fighting for a Champions League spot - visit Anfield on Sunday.

"I am really, really pleased. We have been talking about things for a long time, so it is good that it's been finalised and we can finish with the talks. Now we can start working with everything sorted," said the Liverpool boss who signed a five-year deal. "It was a distraction in every single press conference because I was asked the same question. I was trying to concentrate on football and I think we were doing well."

He can expect a rapturous reception from fans overjoyed by not only the win at Old Trafford but also the mauling of Real Madrid.

Benitez believes everyone can now concentrate on the prospect, however small, of catching United at the top of the table.

"For players, it is important because they want to know who the manager will be. The fans do also," he added. "Players need to know who the manager will be, then you can start working.

"I did not believe I would be here this long when I arrived. Five years in Spain is a long contract, so 10 years is very, very long. I say again, I am really pleased because it means we have improved things and we can still improve.

"It is difficult to explain. I am so pleased and happy to be staying. If I can be here 10 years then I will be one of the happiest managers in the world."

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