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Old 09-08-2008, 02:16 PM
Alexis Vastine
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Default Rafa On Riera, Width And Transfers

RAFA ON RIERA, WIDTH AND TRANSFERS
Steve Hunter
Rafael Benitez has spoken of his delight after unveiling Albert Riera to the media at Melwood - and insisted his new signing will be a success at Anfield.




Click here to watch our exclusive chat with the boss>>

Firstly Rafa, tell us a a little bit about Albert Riera's qualities?

He is a left winger with quality. He is good in the air, is a good crosser of the ball and can score goals. He has experience after playing in a UEFA Cup final and also for the national team. He is a better player now than three years ago with Manchester City.

Everybody has been saying that you have needed a genuine wide player. What will Riera add to the team?

He can stay wide and hold his position. He has a good left foot and can open the game up for us. This will give more space to the likes of Torres, Keane and Gerrard. Albert can beat defenders and can cross good balls. That is the type of player we were looking for. On the left we have Dossena, Aurelio and Riera. We also have Babel and Benayoun so we have a lot of good options now.

Is it fair to say this transfer is more of a coup than some people are making it out to be, because you've beaten other teams to his signature?

You have to sign the player you feel will improve the team. In this case we were looking for a left winger who is a good crosser of the ball, can beat defenders and score goals. Riera is that player.

Some people have said he didn't do much at Manchester City. Is Riera a much better player now?

That was three years ago. He has more experience now. He has played in a UEFA Cup final and was one of the key men in the Espanyol side. For me the main thing is he knows the Premier League. We have a lot of players with experience in Europe but he knows this league and he can settle down quickly. That will be a great advantage.

You have a lot of options down the left side now. Can you have too many players sometimes?

We have a lot of good senior players and young players. The competition is good now for each position. Riera, Babel and Benayoun are all different kinds of players which is good for me as a manager.

Will you be a more attacking side now?

Clearly we have more offensive players in the squad now. Degen and Dossena are offensive full-backs and we know we have more shots than anyone else off target. Now I want us to have more shots than anyone else on target! We will then score more goals. We are well organised in defence and last season we scored more goals than any other team. I think we have a very good balance as a team. We need to improve on some things but we are a team that attacks a lot and doesn't concede many goals.

There has been a lot spoken about a lack of width in your side this season. Now you have a winger on board will this put added pressure on Riera to deliver straight away?

Everyone needs to understand that every year the Premier League is more difficult. We want to win the league title but you also have teams who have spent a lot more money than what we have. We have to be together and always give 100 per cent. It's important to back all of the players and give them support. If we do that then they will play better.

Is Riera the missing piece in the jigsaw that can win you the Premier League title?

Always you can improve small things in your squad and clearly we needed a winger, especially for the left side. We had Leto but we had to send him on loan to Olympiacos, so we needed to find another solution. Riera can be a very good solution for us. You cannot talk about one player and say they are going to win us the league. When we signed Torres last season people said he was going to win us the league and it was the same when we signed Keane. If you look at Manchester United, the other week they had a bench of Tevez, Hargreaves, Anderson, Carrick, Nani and Rooney. If we are talking just about money you could say they can't lose any games. You can't gurantee success by just spending money but it certainly makes it easier.

Does the takeover at Manchester City worry you with their spending power now?

I am not worried about this. We are really pleased with our signings. We can sign players like Skrtel, Mascherano and Agger who people didn't know about before, but they certainly do now. You will make mistakes but we are trying to progress and, as I said you have to take gambles sometimes. We have a good scouting department and we know about a lot of players in the market.
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