Rafa Benitez reveals the big talking point when he met Europe's elite coaches

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez says possession is no longer nine tenths of the law in football.

Benitez attended the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum in Switzerland, earlier this month.

Newcastle United's manager met with Sir Alex Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Enrique in Nyon.

Benitez's side beat Bristol City 1-0 at Ashton Gate in their last away game despite the home side's domination of the ball.

And Benitez, speaking ahead of this evening's Championship game against Derby County at the iPro Stadium, has revealed that possession in football was one of the big talking points at the forum.

"In Nyon with the Elite Coaches Forum, we were talking about possession," said Benitez.

"In the Champions League, teams with more possession are winning around just 30% of the games now.

"So the stats – you can analyse the stats how you want – but I'm not someone who says 'oh, we need possession to play well'.

"Sometimes you can play well with the ball. Sometimes you can play well counter-attacking, and sometimes you can play well without the ball and defending well.

"Possession is not the main issue for me.

"For me, the main issue is to have a team who are playing well and sometimes it is to play long balls, sometimes counter attacks, sometimes just to defend well."