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.