Benitez today dismissed suggestions that Pako Ayesteran’s departure has had an effect on the clubs form, and admitted the buck stops with him.
Some in the media, and on the message boards, have suggested that the reds haven’t looked the same since Pako unceremoniously parted with the club. Rafa dismissed this.
“I do not believe that the management changes have affected the situation.
“We have been analysing the data regarding our players and we are running more, covering more ground and our physical condition is fantastic.
“With regards to the coaching, I was coaching with the team before. I am not a traditional English manager sitting in an office, I am always on the pitch with the players.
“I was on the pitch before, I was on the pitch today and I will be on the pitch tomorrow.”
Looking back on the Marseille game, Rafa admitted that he was ultimately responsible.
“The Marseille match was a very bad game for us, everybody was poor, from front to back.
“Everybody must take responsibility for that defeat, me, the players, the staff, everyone. But I accept that the main responsibility is mine.
The boss was then asked about the R word; rotation.
“Everybody talks about rotation only when we lose, not when we are winning.
“I don’t really like rotating, but I just do it because of the amount of competitions we are involved in. People need to rest.”
He added: “We need to improve but it is not a situation that runs deep. We have only lost once, we were winning and scoring goals earlier in the season.
“For the last game people were bad in attack and bad in defence. We must put that right.
“All the players and the management want to do their best for the team, everyone wants to win and we know what it means to the fans when we do not.
“I take a lot of the responsibility because I am the manager. The manager, the captain, the team, we all take some of the responsibility.
“But I must be positive because I am the manager. You do not win trophies by dropping your head and crying all the time.
“But people must not forget we are in a very good position. Just one defeat.
“That was a very bad game but I do not think that will be repeated this weekend. We have talked about things, and we know we are a much better team than last season.”
He said: “I have read the criticism, but it is easy to talk when you are a long way away in London. We are here with the players every day, we know the situation better.”
The media then specifically asked him about his decision to play Leto and Sissoko.
He said: “I do not want to talk about one player, that is unfair. But some of them who are being criticised I will support. They do not hide, they may give the ball away and make a mistake, but they still keep going, still keep trying and working hard.
“These players kept trying, and at the age they are I still think they are doing well.”