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Benitez Has The Premier League And Newcastle On His Mind

The Chinese Super League is currently on a three-week break and will resume their fixtures on November 22nd. They finish the season strong with their final three matches all taking place in the last week of November.

It has not been smooth sailing for Rafa Benitez and Dalian Yifang of late. The club have lost four of their last five matches and are stuck in ninth position with just the three games remaining.

If Benitez can change their fortunes in the final week, Dalian Yifang could finish as high as sixth in the final standings. This season for Rafa was all about getting the club as high as possible in the table. However, next season likely will be expected to have Dalian Yifang near the top.

Rafa Benitez– does he miss England?

As he has done so often since leaving Newcastle in June, Benitez has again spoken about his former club. This time, however, he gives some insight into his future. And it looks like he is already planning on a return to the big time.

In comments published in the Chronicle, Rafa spoke about the unfair comparisons between this year’s team and the one he coached last year:

“I think when you talk about my Newcastle or my Liverpool, you cannot compare them with these teams now.

“It is totally different, the time is different, the league is different, but both are doing well.

“Newcastle United, I will say after we were promoted and had two years in the Premier League, they are doing well.

“We finished, some people don’t remember, but we finished really well when we signed Miguel Almiron. We finished seventh in the second half of the league if you just take the second part of the league.

“Now, it is a new team, a new manager and they have spent some money. I think he [Steve Bruce] is doing well.

“People try to compare every year and it is totally different. I am happy because both teams are doing well, but I follow all the Premier League, it is not just these two teams.”

Steve Bruce has definitely gotten Newcastle on the right path over the past five or six weeks. There is still a lot of work to do, but Bruce seems to have finally found a way to get Newcastle going in the final third.

Last season, Rafa Benitez was also able to overcome a rough patch early in the season to have Newcastle flying during the second half of the campaign.

While comparisons are always going to be made, Rafa is correct that the situations do have their differences. Newcastle are in effect playing with an entirely different frontline if you consider that Miguel is being played on the opposite flank from last year. Though the formation and counter-attacking style remains similar.

Benitez, to us, seems to be slightly unfulfilled in China. While it is a project that he will commit to fully, it’s just not the same level as the one he left at Newcastle.

Despite being at Dalian Yifang for just the past five months, the Spaniard’s thoughts are still with England and the Premier League. He even said as much in his comments. When asked about a future return to England, this is what Rafa had to say:

“Obviously my idea in the future will be the Premier League. Then I want to stay close to my family. It is a league I like a lot.”

Sounds like Rafa really misses England and, in particular, Newcastle. Who knows what the future will bring? We would love to see Rafa back at Newcastle in the future if the need ever arises.

However, we are currently intrigued as to what Steve Bruce can do with this club. If he can build on the success of the past five weeks, he could really make a go of it. While his history belies that, we hope that coaching at Newcastle can inspire Bruce to bring some welcomed success to this club.

75 comments so far

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Nov 15, 2019 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #1

    Wonder if SB could get Rafa on a short term loan? 😉

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 15, 2019 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #2

    For everyone who says to me Bruce is doing better than Rafa, only if you’re comparing starts, like Rafa said, we were seventh in the second half of the season.

  • Assassins Inc

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #3

    Even Rafa says comparing his team to the now Newcastle team doesn’t make sense.

    So why are we still doing it?

    I would love to have seen Rafa stay, but he isn’t the manager anymore, maybe one day he could come back under new ownership.

    But for now we have to get behind what we have and stop piping on about last year and the year before teams. They don’t exist anymore!!!

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #4

    And we are currently 4th in the form table. The league isn’t played between where Rafa finished and where Bruce finishes. There are 19 others who have a say in it all.

    Simple fact is Rafa did well with what he had, Bruce is doing well with what he has. We would all love to be doing better and aiming highter, but that isn’t the manager.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #5

    Rafa made a huge mistake going to China, unless of course his sole aim was to pocket tonnes of money then he made the right choice. Although the Chinese league will be a massive league in 50 or 100 years time so maybe he didn’t go for the money and he went for the prestige…
    He made a career mistake coming to us too. Should have probably gone to Leicester when they were going through Puel/ Shakespeare or West Ham. They’ve wasted a fair bit of money, he could have made a cohesive team with that money.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:12 PM

    Comment #6

    We are 4th over the last 5 games, and 5th over the last 10. Time to stop bickering about Rafa and Bruce compared, and just look at the current performances positively, irrespective of whether we would be better off or not if Rafa had stayed.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #7

    I wasn’t talking about the form table, I was talking about the second half table. We were probably higher than fourth in the Nivember form table last year

  • Ron Knee

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:14 PM

    Comment #8

    Rafa had to ensure work for his assistant coaches too.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:16 PM

    Comment #9

    What is just looking at the second half of a season if not an 18/19 game form table?

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #10

    Nov 11, 2019 at 3:14 PM
    Comment #13
    Actually, the form tables are fairly interesting. If you look at the last ten matches, we’re up to fifth in the form table, behind Liverpool, Chelsea, Leicester and Man City P10, W 4. L3, D3 = 15 points.
    (For the sake of transparency, our last 10 matches last season were P10, W4, L4, D2 = 14 points).

    Rafa was great, Bruce deserves credit too.

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #11

    Nov 11, 2019 at 2:03 PM
    Comment #16

    “if he was any good he’d have us in equal or better form than the last half of last season”

    2nd half of last season: 19 games, takes us back to Watford on the 29th December

    Record – W9, L8, D3, 21 points at 1.11 pts / game

    So far this season, we’re P12, W4, L5, D3, 15 points at 1.25 pts / game.

    I think that’s demonstrably better form than the last half of last season, especially given the fact that of those 12 games, 5 were against teams from last season’s top 6, another 4 were against teams that finished above us last season and only 3 were against teams that finished below us.

    As I say, I think we should give him a break.

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #12

    Jib………. Samatta is far more mobile than Mitro, he is strong on the ball with better dribbling skills and in my view has a more powerful and accurate shot and is a more instinctive finisher. I take your point that the Belgian league is not all that but that’s probably the reason he’s not crazy money.

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:40 PM

    Comment #13

    The Next Mike “Rafa made a career mistake coming to us”

    Actually, I disagree. While in hidsight he may think that he could have done better elsewhere, at the time he came to us it was for all the right reasons (sleeping giant, proyecto, best potential outside the top 6 etc etc, we all know the score).

    Even Ashley made the right noises at the time, showing Rafa the plans for the new training ground, promising him full control over transfers etc.

    It only became apparent over a period of time what a lying conniving ar$ehole the owner is and that actually, because of him and nobody else, the job Rafa had taken was a dead-end role with no prospect of fulfilling his dreams.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:52 PM

    Comment #14

    Well that kind of rubbishes the second half of the season argument…. So hopefully we can put it all to bed and just support the coach and players, while still working/hoping/looking to remove the owner.

  • Lindisfarne

    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:55 PM

    Comment #15

    “” Due to popular demand after last years’ effort, I give you the best Fantasy Football XI based purely on points accumulation (correct up to and including 11/11/19):
    Ryan BRI

    Pereira LEI
    Soyuncu LEI
    Lundstram SHE
    Robertson LIV

    Salah LIV
    De Bruyne MNC
    Mane LIV

    Aguero MNC
    Vardy LEI
    Abraham CHE
    And would have netted you 772 points so far””

    For anyone who needs a little help.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #16

    If only it was that easy 😮
    I’ve just sold Soyuncu to bring in Perez as well 🙁

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #17

    I don’t think you could buy that team with 100M either, even at the start.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #18

    On Samatta, I think he would be worth a shot at a reported value of 10million. Mobile, strong, good in the air, and is an instinctive finisher. At that price, you aren’t guaranteed anything, but not much would be available in that bracket which is likely to be our price bracket.

    However, I’ve seen him live a couple of times, and wasn’t hugely impressed, could argue long flights, poor pitches, poor teammates, played a part. He only has 6 in 14 in the league this season. Kemar Roofe, who I would have liked us to have gone for in the summer, has 5 in 8 in the same league.

    A gamble, but one worth taking a chance on for the price, on balance.

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #19

    Lilo #14 while SB deserves some credit, I’m not sure I’m ready to get behind him fully yet. While he’s stabilised the team and earned some decent results, there’s a long way to go and this League is particularly unpredictable

    Credit where it’s due, but let’s see where we are at Christmas.

    I agree that he doesn’t need or deserve the fans on his back though.

  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #20

    Points are all that count.

    I can’t see us carrying on the way we are and picking up points unless the front 3 start firing.

    Barring 2 games this season it’s been nothing to write home about and at times horrendous to watch.

    Jury is still out for me, I’m still not sure what to expect when the team crosses the white line and I’m still waiting for a hero/leader to step foward and drive the team on.

    One manager I knew what we’d get 95% of the time, the other I’m wondering what he’s doing 95% of the time.

    Ashley out

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #21

    Suppose every player that’s bought is a gamble, Chelsea paid out around £50m for Torres and he flopped, there’s been many others as well.

    The buyers have to weigh up the probabilities of a player succeeding in a new league and also allowing them time to adjust, ie Joelinton.

  • Munster Mag

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #22

    Despite Jail talking manure, I wanted rafa here long term funded and felt he could develop along the lines of leicester a couple of seasons ago with a counter attacking style nailed down witb better players. I said this many times. But there’s no way that he should be beyond criticism as some of the more extreme idiots here wanted, just because he was famous and hated ashley. Im not sure about Bruce like you Rob Leenio , but I object to the vicious characterisation of him before he was here a wet week. Either way he needs funds and soon because if we lose our speedy guys we wont have a lot to fall back on.

  • welshgeordie9

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #23

    Rafa sucks, mark my words, Bruce will do a better job.

  • welshgeordie9

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #24

    Only two disappointing results this season.

    Leicester and Norwich.

  • welshgeordie9

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #25

    We beat Man Utd and Spurs, unlucky against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

  • welshgeordie9

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #26


  • welshgeordie9

    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #27

    In Bruce we trust.

  • Mindshaft

    Nov 15, 2019 at 3:11 PM

    Comment #28

    Welsh – what do we trust Bruce to do?

  • Mindshaft

    Nov 15, 2019 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #29

    We were awful against Watford , terrible against Norwich, Brighton and Leicester and Wolves, lucky against Spurs , and Bournemouth who both could have been out of sight in first half as they were all over us and terrible against Liverpool, Chelsea and lucky to not have heavier defeats – we were also hanging on at the end of Bournemouth and West Ham … do you actually watch the games ( you clearly don’t attend! )

  • Ron Knee

    Nov 15, 2019 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #30

    Don’t feed the pathetic troll.

  • Jib

    Nov 15, 2019 at 3:28 PM

    Comment #31

    Even trolls have a mother and need the occasional hug

  • Assassins Inc

    Nov 15, 2019 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #32

    Well Tooner’s here’s the good news.
    We have by the looks of it a good points tally, now imagine if the front line start scoring goals.

    That would mean there will be threats all over the pitch, defense, midfield and forwards.

    Now that will be worth seeing at our club.

  • Online Guy

    Nov 15, 2019 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #33

    This from Wor Betty yesterday morning .

    “Going back to last night’s discussion on the mod scene in Newcastle . I don’t remember Arthur Wong but I remember Billy Wight who was big on the scene in them days.
    According to Jib , Arthur Wong had a sister which means there were two Wongs.” .

    Two Wongs don’t make a wight Betty.

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 15, 2019 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #34

    OLG………. Well spotted there son.

  • Online Guy

    Nov 15, 2019 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #35


    You set them up I’ll…

  • Rotonda heights

    Nov 15, 2019 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #36

    ” It only became apparent over a period of time what a lying conniving ar$ehole the owner is and that actually, because of him and nobody else, the job Rafa had taken was a dead-end role with no prospect of fulfilling his dreams.”



    You need to up your game, you’re not very good at this trolling lark are you pet.

  • lesh

    Nov 15, 2019 at 5:05 PM

    Comment #37


    You just got out bed or something? The two wings don’t make a right’s been waiting to be picked up on for hours. I didn’t want to add that comment knowing how prickly Betty’s can be. 😉

  • lesh

    Nov 15, 2019 at 5:30 PM

    Comment #39


    You’re being very hard on poor little Welshyboyo. His absence’s probably accounted for by weeks of treatment from his medics and therapists who’ve thrown their hands up in despair and need a break from him. What price a lobotomy’s next on his treatment programme!

  • welshgeordie9

    Nov 15, 2019 at 6:17 PM

    Comment #40

    In Bruce we trust, right guys.


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