Rafa Benitez lost the Club World Cup with Liverpool, but is “getting on really well in Italy” and aims to succeed with Inter.
“I'm getting on really well in Italy, a country that I was already familiar with from past holidays in Sardinia, but one that I am also learning to appreciate day by day here in Milan,” the Coach told FIFA.com.
“But I have to admit that Liverpool is still in my heart, and even from a distance I follow the latest news on the club.
“I have a fantastic relationship with the Reds fans and I'm happy that some of them recently came to visit me at the San Siro for the Inter-Tottenham game, the day before the Napoli-Liverpool match.”
Rafa hopes to succeed with Inter where he failed at Liverpool, having lost the 2005 Club World Cup Final 1-0 to Sao Paulo.
“I was very dismayed by what happened in the closing stages of that match, when we had no fewer than three goals ruled out. I was very angry that day.
“The climate will be different because this time we'll be playing in the heat of the United Arab Emirates - we need to know what the temperature will be, I hope it won't be too extreme - whereas in Japan it was winter.
“In 2005 the matches were quite close together and I rotated the team, playing Peter Crouch in the first match - he scored a brace - and Fernando Morientes in the final. It's likely to be much the same here at Inter, because we have so many players at our disposal and they're all top class.”
Inter's tournament begins in the semi-final against the winners of the Seongnam Ihlwa Chunma-Alwahda Sports Club/Hekari United games on December 15.
The Final is on December 18 against one from Internacional, Pachuca and TP Mazembe Englebert.
“For now we have concentrated on Brazil's Internacional. Before the competition starts we'll also take a closer look at our other rivals, because although we're aware of our strengths, we respect the brand of football played on every continent.”
Benitez was on the verge of dismissal at San Siro before back-to-back wins over Twente and Parma, so he has noted big changes in his debut Serie A campaign.
“In Spain the game is more technical, in England it's more physical, while in Italy it's more tactical. Each country is a challenge and I like to put myself to the test.
“This year after the World Cup the players came back late and we immediately had to prepare for two cup finals. It hasn't been easy, but we have strength in depth and the desire to get to Abu Dhabi in peak condition.
“As for my role, it changes a bit because in the transfer market here in Italy, just as in Spain, the director of football has the final say, whereas in England the Coach has more autonomy, even if he still has to answer to the managing director. With both systems it's possible to do well.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!