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Dec 18, 2012

Benitez to stay professional over spat

Rafa Benitez has said he will stay "professional" ahead of his Chelsea team's Capital One Cup clash on Wednesday with Leeds, despite Whites manager Neil Warnock rekindling an old feud with the Spaniard.

Warnock mentioned on Tuesday how he received an email from Benitez back in 2007 threatening legal action after the then-Sheffield United boss accused him of undermining the integrity of the Premier League and playing a key role in his club's relegation.

With the Spaniard's club Liverpool preparing for a Champions League final against Milan, Benitez rested his first-choice team for a match against Fulham. The London club won 1-0, going on to finish two points ahead of Sheffield United in the table.

"The last time I heard from Rafa he was threatening to sue me in an e-mail if I mentioned it again," Warnock said.

Benitez, however, responded on Tuesday by saying he will treat the matter professionally and that he will shake Warnock's hand.

"I'm professional and I won't have any problem. There will be a lot of people watching us, so we have to behave," he said.

When asked whether Sheffield United's relegation was his fault, Benitez said: "The league is about 38 games, not one. I'm a professional and have to behave. I didn't remember this e-mail. It's true but I didn't remember it. I will be concentrating on my job and hopefully can talk about football. That's best for the fans, to leave things on the pitch."

The matter will only further sharpen the existing rivalry between Leeds and Chelsea, and Benitez said that will explain the historic nature of it to Stamford Bridge's new foreign players ahead of the quarter-final.

"We will talk with them and explain the importance of every game and competition for all the fans of both clubs. I have some information on the history and it's quite interesting."

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