Rafa Benitez reveals how he’s changed since his days feuding with Jose Mourinho

Rafa Benitez says he’s calmed down since he last feuded with Jose Mourinho.

The pair will meet as opposing managers for the first time in 10 years at Old Trafford this evening.

Newcastle United manager Benitez and Mourinho, now in charge at Old Trafford, clashed in their early years in the Premier League when they managed Liverpool and Chelsea respectively.

Manchester United boss Mourinho told of his “respect” for Benitez ahead of the Premier League game.

Benitez, for his part, insisted he was focused on his team ahead of the match.

Asked if he was older and wiser, Benitez said: “I think so. Older, that’s obvious, and a lot calmer and more relaxed, because you have more experience. You know what’s important. The main thing is the players. You have to concentrate on that.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

“You have to be sure you get the best from your players.

“You try to do the best for your team and your club. Then it depends on your rival and your targets. After that, you know you have to concentrate on the games.

“In this case, it’s more important for us. Newcastle United is a team that, at the moment, has to work very hard if it wants to closer to Manchester United.”

Benitez insists he tries to be “respectful”.

You know what’s important. The main thing is the players. You have to concentrate on that. You have to be sure you get the best from your players.

Rafa Benitez

“Normally, I try to be respectful to everyone and do the best for my team,” he added.

Asked if he was sometimes “not nice”, Benitez said: “Yes, for sure. When I am upset. I try to be respectful to everyone, but sometimes I’m upset and I’m not (nice).”