London, Mar 1: Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has admitted that his hopes holding up the English Premier League championship trophy for the first time in 19 years has been shattered after his squad crashed to a 0-2 defeat against Middlesbrough.
"Before the game it was very difficult, after the game it is more difficult," The Sun quoted Benitez, as saying.
Benitez has now pitted his hopes on the 'must win' game against Sunderland this coming Tuesday.
He also hinted that Manchester United's chances of winning the title were brighter now.
When asked about off-field problems and the impending departure of Rick Parry, Benitez said : "If you see the first 30 minutes you will understand that if we score, we will control and win the game."
Middlesbrough manager, Gareth Southgate, who tasted victory for the first time since November last year, also believed that Manchester United were very close to the title.
"The way United are, the strength of their squad and the way they are playing makes it difficult for anyone to catch them," Southgate said.