It is four and a half months since Rafael Benítez left Liverpool FC but the FC Internazionale Milano coach says Tottenham Hotspur FC are barely recognisable to the team he last faced.
Article top media content
It is four and a half months since Rafael Benítez left Liverpool FC but he says Tottenham Hotspur FC are barely recognisable to the team he last faced, as he and FC Internazionale Milano prepare to welcome the English side to the San Siro. A meeting with the European champions represents uncharted territory for Spurs though Harry Redknapp needs no introduction to in-form Samuel Eto'o, a striker he has long admired.
Rafael Benítez, Inter coach
I'm really happy with my defenders. We have conceded very few goals, which gives you confidence and means most of the time you're going to win. Tottenham have changed a lot since I last faced them with Liverpool. They have spent a lot and now they have quality and want to do well. It will be tough to beat them, but we will do our best.
It's always tough to move to a new team that have won a lot, as Inter did last season, but the players seem to be happy because I have kept the formation they are used to. We are working to improve, especially concerning ball possession.
Including Javier Zanetti we played our last game [a 1-0 win at Cagliari Calcio] with just three midfielders and we won which proves that mentality is more important than formation.
Harry Redknapp, Tottenham manager
We played well in Germany [against Bremen] and got a point, then we beat Twente and now we have two games against Inter: they will be important. Inter seem to win every time Eto'o scores. I know he is a fantastic player, I saw him playing at Mallorca when I managed West Ham because I would have loved to have him in London eight or nine years ago. Inter did an amazing deal when they signed him from Barcelona.
We know Eto'o is on a high but we also have players who can rise to the occasion. [Gareth] Bale is one of the best left-backs in the world and I think [Aaron] Lennon played very well against Fulham: I know before the game he seemed to be having problems but he's in a good shape now. He's playing the way I ask him to play.
Esteban Cambiasso (thigh) and Goran Pandev (ankle) are available following injuries. Iván Córdoba (thigh) is also in contention after missing Saturday's game, when Thiago Motta made his first appearance of the season. Diego Milito is out with a thigh strain.
Rafael van der Vaart is suspended. Lennon (back), Benoît Assou-Ekotto (knee), William Gallas (groin) and Ledley King (groin) recovered from injuries to face Fulham FC on Saturday, though the latter did not last until half-time. Younes Kaboul (hamstring), Michael Dawson (knee), Jermain Defoe (ankle) and Jamie O'Hara (back) are longer-term absentees.
17/10/10 Cagliari Calcio 0-1 Inter
Eto'o has struck 16 goals in 14 appearances for club and country and has registered in seven of the Nerazzurri's 11 games this term. Inter have not won – nor even scored – when the Cameroon striker has failed to find the net.
16/10/10 Fulham FC 1-2 Tottenham
(Kamara 30; Pavlyuchenko 31, Huddlestone 63)
Tottenham have not scored in the first 15 minutes of either half in the league this season. Six of the seven Premier League goals they have conceded have come between the 16th and 45th minutes. They have kept two clean sheets in 13 games in all competitions.
Did you know?
Tottenham's one previous trip to San Siro was a 1-1 draw with AC Milan, Alan Mullery scoring the visitors' goal. That earned a 3-2 aggregate victory at the semi-final stage of their triumphant 1971/72 UEFA Cup campaign.
See the match background for more information.