Neil Warnock sends warm message to Rafa Benitez ahead of Newcastle's visit to Cardiff

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

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Neil Warnock has congratulated Rafa Benitez on guiding Newcastle United to promotion.

Benitez's side take on Warnock's Cardiff City tonight in a televised game (7.45pm kick-off).

Second-placed Newcastle secured promotion to the Premier League with a 4-1 win over Preston North End on Monday night.

READ MORE: Rafa Benitez outlines his approach to talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

And the club could still win the Championship title if they win their remaining two games and league leaders Brighton and Hove Albion drop points.

Warnock and Benitez have feuded in the past.

But Cardiff's manager has paid tribute to Benitez's "achievement" at United – and insisted it's a tough division to get out of however much money is spent.

"We couldn't have more fitting opposition to end our home campaign than Premier League-bound Newcastle United," said Warnock in his programme notes.

"Congratulations to Rafa on his achievement. It's not an east league, no matter what anybody says, whether you've got money to spend or not.

"Newcastle set off to get promotion and they've achieved it with a little bit of time to spare."

Warnock and Benitez have a bit of history.

Warnock blamed then-Liverpool manager Benitez for Sheffield United’s relegation in 2007.

Benitez, with one eye on the Champions League final, fielded a weakened team against Fulham, who won and went on to stay up at the expense of Warnock’s side.

Warnock said at the time: "At least I knew the players that were playing. I didn't even know two of those that played for Liverpool at Fulham last week.

"I'd never heard of them, but when you are a foreign manager like Rafa Benitez, you probably don't give two hoots about what Sheffield United think."

Meanwhile, Newcastle will be backed by more than 4,200 fans at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Benitez said: "It's very competitive and it'll be very difficult."

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