Rafa Benitez aims thinly-veiled dig at Mike Ashley after finding 'respect' in China

Rafa Benitez has aimed a dig at Newcastle United’s hierarchy in his first blog post from China.

Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 12:45 pm
Rafa Benitez.

Benitez took over at Dalian Yifang last week after leaving St James’s Park, and the Chinese Super League club got off to a winning start at the weekend by beating Henan Jianye 3-1 at home.

Benitez, unhappy with the conditions attached to a new one-year deal at Newcastle, reluctantly walked away from Newcastle.

The 58-year-old rarely met United owner Mike Ashley in his three years at St James’s Park. And, in a blog post, Benitez has contrasted his relationship with Ashley and Newcastle’s hierarchy with his experience, so far, in China.

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Benitez wrote: “I must say that I have had more meetings with the chairman, the president and the general manager this week than I had in three years at Newcastle.

“They haven't just been work meetings, rather signs of respect in which we have been able to appreciate the differences and similarities in our cultures.”

Reflecting on his first seven days in Dalian, Benitez said: “We've hardly been in China for a week, and I have seen and experienced so much for the first time, it could easily have already been a month.

“My coaching team and I have visited so many countries in the past – we've worked for years in Spain, Italy and England – but this experience is like no other.”

Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce has reacted after becoming the favourite to succeed Benitez at United.