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Poor old Rafa, he must have known it was coming

Merry Chrismas Rafa Benitez.

The now ex-Inter boss must have known his time was coming, but it still happened very fast. Mind you having been around the game long enough and knowing that Italian football is all about winning, he can't have been too surprised by the outcome.

You can't criticise a man like owner Massimo Moratti and get away with it. He rules his club, and if he's not satisfied he won't hesitate to show you the door.

In a sense it probably worked out well for Benitez and Inter. Better now and quickly rather than having someone hanging on by a thread and then coming in one day to discover they don't have a job.

It's not just happening in Italy, it's happening in England too. Look at Sam Alladyce at Blackburn Rovers. The demand for instant success is causing all sorts of problems.

The Premier League have come out and said that they are going to look into the high rate of sacking so far this season, and they should. There are new owners coming into the game who have bags of money, but know nothing about football.

To get into the sport and demand instant success, that goes with the territory. Everyone wants to win, but you have to be sensible about it. You have to realise that not all clubs are created equal, and not everyone can be a winner.

Just look at Arsenal. They haven't won anything for five years, and while Arsene Wenger's job is safe at the moment, I doubt he can go on much longer without winning something.

A win on Monday against Chelsea would be a start, and the Gunners are really going to have to start proving to people that they can beat the big clubs in England, the big boys at the top.

They seem to stumble every time they play them and until they can get over one of these teams it will be the same old song, lucky Arsenal, they can't beat Manchester United, Chelsea, unless they do get a win then people can rethink that talk.

Arsenal can't continue to say that they are a young team because they are maturing and it is time to start winning silverware.

The weather in England hasn't been very conducive to football at the moment, and no-one is gaining an advantage by playing, or not, because whatever happens you still have to play those games.

Having said that, the real winners are the teams that are struggling with lots of players out injured, because it gives them time to get them fit again.

West Ham could certainly do with a bit of a break. We have had a lot of injuries, which hasn't helped, but I just feel we are on the verge of mounting a run to get ourselves out of the relegation zone.

I have always said that the league in England is in two parts, there is the hectic Christmas schedule, when games come thick and fast, and then there is the second part.

We got a good point last weekend, and if we can string a few wins together over the next ten days we'll be in a strong position come the New Year. You can get out of trouble as long as you are sticking games together and getting wins.

n n n

Congratulations are in order for Mario Balotelli who received the Golden Boy award for the best Under-21 player in Europe, but he still needs to mature and lose the arrogance he carries around with him if he is to be successful going forward.

He has to understand, and be in the game a little while before he can start yapping his mouth. The game may be in his favour at the moment but it will also go against him at some point.

Skills do the talking, and if he was to be carrying on how he is now and I was on the pitch I would tell him that he needs to calm down because his goals don't add up to the money his club paid for him.

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Finally, it is a good thing that Michel Platini has gotten another term as UEFA boss because he is doing a good job and it is good to see a footballing person in that job and we need more of them involved in the top levels of the sport.

It bodes well for the future of football if they can get more former players in positions to help the game, the good thing is that he is both on the coaches side as well as the players' side so let's hope this will continue through the year to come.

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Published December 24, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 24, 2010 at 6:51 am)

Poor old Rafa, he must have known it was coming

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