Rafa Benitez on why ‘experience is important’ in Champions League finals and how a ‘winning mentality’ can give you the edge

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Having managed both clubs in the past, Rafa Benitez has a good insight on the mindset within both Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Speaking with UEFA ahead of this season’s final, the 62-year-old said: “I spent years at the Real Madrid academy as a player and a coach, and you get used to winning. That is a genuine winning mentality and it takes years to develop. Coming second is a crisis, so [finals] are seen as a challenge, a motivation. You need to show confidence so everyone can give the best version of themselves.

“Luckily when [the 2005 final in] Istanbul came around I’d already had experience of winning titles with Valencia and that experience is important.

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“Istanbul was unforgettable because, after a long absence, Liverpool returned to the most important club competition final. It is probably the best, most emotional final the Champions League has ever seen.”

Perhaps more today than in the Spaniards time at the club, we have built a winning mentality and have won plenty of trophies under Jurgen Klopp.

Having played in two finals already, experienced an intense Premier League battle and also winning at Wembley on three occasions – we’ve learned how to win under pressure.

Let’s hope that gives us the edge in Paris.

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