Pitchside

Why Rafa Benitez is the perfect manager for Spurs

Pitchside

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Tottenham Hotspur's hunt for a new manager is one of the talking points of the close season this year, with Rafa Benitez the latest to be linked with the Spurs job after Tim Sherwood was sacked by the White Hart Lane club.

Sherwood was canned by Daniel Levy despite having had just five months in charge of the club, following the decision to dispense with the services of Andre Villas-Boas and a host of big name managers have been linked with the role at one of England's most ambitious clubs.

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Louis van Gaal has reportedly already turned down the job in order to take control at Manchester United, while the likes of Frank De Boer and Mauricio Pochettino are also believed to be on the shortlist to take Spurs into the 2014/15 season.

Benitez's wealth of Premier League experience has appealed to Spurs, with the Spanish tactician having enjoyed successful spells with Liverpool and Chelsea, delivering European trophies to both.

Benitez won the Champions League during his time at Anfield in that famous final in Istanbul in 2005, while his turbulent six months as 'interim manager' at Chelsea saw him lead the Blues from their disastrous Champions League campaign under Roberto Di Matteo to European glory once again, as they defeated Benfica to claim the Europa League.

Now with Napoli, Benitez has impressed once again, leading the Italian side to victory in the Coppa Italia and, potentially more importantly in the eyes of the Tottenham board, into third position and a place in next season's Champions League.

With Italy proving more difficult to qualify for Europe's premier competition given they have just three places due to UEFA coefficients now ranking them behind Germany, Benitez' accomplishments appear even more impressive.

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Benitez has combined tactical discipline with free-flowing attractive football, with Napoli still managing to score 72 goals in Serie A this season - only champions Juventus have scored more this season.

Spurs on the other hand managed just 55 and recorded a goal difference of only +4 having conceded 51 times, while Napoli conceded just 38 goals all season, the fourth best record in Italy.

His record against the top teams is something that stands up and will interest the Spurs selection committee this summer, with Tottenham having picked up just one point against the top four this season and conceded 27 goals in those eight matches.

Heavy home defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool proved less than impressive, while 14 goals were shipped in defeats to City, Liverpool and Chelsea without any reply.

Away from home to the top two, Napoli have admittedly lost by an aggregate score of 5-0, but both Roma and Juventus suffered defeats at San Paolo stadium and closest challengers to their third place Fiorentina were beaten at home by Benitez' side.

With Spurs somehow managing to finish just three points off their Premier league record haul this season, all they really need to do in order to climb back into the top four and put together a title challenge is to fare better against the sides around them in the table.

With Benitez proving he can go toe-to-toe with the best in the land, you feel that tactical nous would prove perfect in Spurs' bid to better themselves and place their cat among the title chasing pigeons, whilst it wouldn't hamper the desire from the fans to see the team play the 'Tottenham Way'.

Whether he could be tempted to leave Napoli just one year into his project in Italy is another thing, but if Benitez is available and interested, you feel he could be the perfect man to lead Spurs from nearly men to a success story.

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