Football: Benitez fires back at Mourinho

ROME (REUTERS) - Napoli manager Rafael Benitez hit back at Jose Mourinho on Saturday, after the Chelsea boss claimed his predecessor had presided over a poor season for the Premier League football leaders.

"Mourinho speaks a lot about a lot of people, but I prefer to talk about the facts. At Liverpool we eliminated his Chelsea from the Champions League with a team that cost half as much as his side," Benitez told reporters ahead of Sunday's clash with table topping Juventus.

"He had an extremely strong Real Madrid and never did anything in Europe. Maybe if they sell (Eden) Hazard and Oscar for hundreds of millions he will succeed in winning something," added the Spaniard, whose Chelsea side won the Europa League in 2013.

As well as playing down Chelsea's efforts under Benitez, former Inter Milan and Real Madrid manager Mourinho also upset Juventus fans by saying a Europa League triumph by the Turin side would mean nothing.

"Chelsea last year didn't have a good season. They had problems qualifying for the Champions League and found themselves playing in the Europa with a team built for other objectives," Mourinho had told reporters on Friday.

"If Juventus win the Europa League it will mean nothing, as they were built for the Champions League."

Mourinho's perceived attack on Juve caused Turin-based sport daily Tuttosport to tell him to "shut up" on their front page.

The Portuguese also felt the wrath of Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, another former Chelsea manager, after criticising third-placed Madrid for not being higher in the La Liga table after a season in which Barcelona have looked more vulnerable than in recent years.

"It's his opinion but I believe Madrid are fighting for the title and that is something they were not able to do last season," said Ancelotti, who took over from Mourinho at Real.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.