Man United's Juan Mata lauds Rafa Benitez and 'big club' Newcastle

Juan Mata
Juan Mata

Juan Mata is looking forward to seeing Rafa Benitez at Old Trafford.

The Manchester United midfielder says he was "lucky" to work under Benitez at Chelsea, his former club.

Rafa Benitez and Bolo Zenden with the Europa League trophy

Rafa Benitez and Bolo Zenden with the Europa League trophy

Benitez takes his Newcastle United side to Old Trafford on Saturday evening for a televised Premier League game.

Mata, a Europa League winner under Benitez at Chelsea, has spoken about his respect for Benitez, who he believes is in charge of a "big club".

Writing in his personal blog on Man United's official website, Mata said: "Today, we return to training with the mindset on the Newcastle match and the importance of the months that lie ahead, as they come loaded with games, especially during the Christmas period.

"These are moments in which good form of the team can be decisive for the second part of the season.

"Returning now to our game against Newcastle on Saturday, everyone knows they are newly-promoted, but they are still a big club with several Spanish players. Among them Rafa Benitez, a manager with whom I was lucky to work with in the past.

"It will be nice to see him again. We hope to play a good game that allows us to get all three points, and continue showing that strength in Old Trafford."