Warnock's feud with Benitez over Sheffield United relegation is '˜water under the bridge'

Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock says his feud with Rafael Benitez is over and that the Spaniard is the one man Newcastle cannot afford to lose.

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock (Picture: PA)

The pair, who cross Premier League swords on Saturday, fell out when Benitez played a weakened Liverpool team ahead of the Champions League final at Fulham on the penultimate weekend of the 2006-07 season.

Fulham won 1-0 and the Cottagers’ victory helped relegate Warnock’s Sheffield United and sparked a war of words, and even the threat of legal action, between the two men.

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“Funnily enough I was talking to (former Liverpool striker) Craig Bellamy at the academy this morning,” said Warnock at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

Rafa Benitez, Newcastle United manager

“He played in that game and he was telling me how they had three days off before and the other lads weren’t bothered either.

“It’s all water under the bridge now, life’s too short. I’ve got to enjoy this now.

“If you’d have told me when I first came in that we would be playing Rafa’s side with a full house, it’s incredible.”

Benitez’s position has been the subject of much scrutiny this summer due to the lack of investment in the squad at St James’ Park.

Warnock questions criticism of Newcastle’s spending, but he does admit that Benitez’s future is crucial to them moving in the right direction.

“The one person Newcastle can’t afford to lose is Rafa,” said Warnock.