Sunday 17 May 2009 8:00 pm

Bitter Benitez delivers title snub to Fergie

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LIVERPOOL boss Rafael Benitez last night continued his bitter feud with Sir Alex Ferguson after declining to congratulate his Manchester United counterpart for their Premier League success.

Benitez spoke after his side sealed the runners-up spot behind United with a 2-0 victory over West Brom – a result which confirmed the Baggies’ relegation to the Championship.

The two managers have been at loggerheads for much of the season as a war of words between the pair dominated the title run-in.

But when asked if he would personally salute Ferguson for his title success, the Spaniard made it clear he would only congratulate the club as a whole. I will say congratulations to Manchester United. They have done well, but I do not want to say too much,” Benitez said.

“I prefer just to say well done to the club, a big club, a good club. Normally you have to be polite and respect the other manager. During the season we have seen a lot of things that I didn’t like, so that’s it. I say congratulations to United because they have won. And that’s it.”

Benitez also played down a bizarre scuffle between Reds’ team-mates Jamie Carragher and Alvaro Arbeloa, which overshadowed the Hawthorns victory. “I don’t like what I saw, but I am trying to see the positive side of things,” Benitez added. “For me that is a positive message about the mentality of the team. We wanted to show character and a desire to win and be second, and stay as close as we could to Manchester United.”

Steven Gerrard robbed Shelton Martis to give the Reds a 28th minute lead before Dirk Kuyt added a second on 63 minutes, although the Baggies went down fighting.