Rafa Benitez reacts to Newcastle's Championship fixtures

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez says he is NOT "worried" by the prospect of a 46-game Championship campaign.

The league today published its fixture list ahead of the new season.

Newcastle will open their campaign with a televised away game against Fulham on August 5.

The relegated club, which takes on Huddersfield Town at St James's Park the following weekend, has a tough run of fixtures early in the season.

But United manager Benitez said: "I am not the kind of manager who is really worried about the fixtures and our rivals.

"My idea is that you have to play against everyone, and when you will play against them doesn't change too much in theory.

"What we do have to do is to prepare our team in the best way possible, to make sure we are strong enough to start the season in a good way, and to carry on until the end.

"You can say that we will play against Fulham in the first game, away and live (on television), but it doesn't change too much for me.

"Will it be difficult? Yes. Do we have to respect them? Yes.

"But the main thing is how good will we be this day, and how good we have to be during the whole season.

"There are a lot of ex-Premier League teams playing in the Championship now, so the level is higher. I think it will be very interesting.

"There is more quality around the division, so I think that you will see better games – and it will always be exciting."