Rafa Benitez ready for the most expensive game in Championship history

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United struggled away from home all last season.

But Rafa Benitez’s side have already claimed three away wins in the Championship ahead of this evening’s game against Roberto Di Matteo’s Aston Villa at Villa Park.

When you are playing away, they have to attack you more and then you have a little bit more space.

Rafa Benitez

And Benitez feels Newcastle are geared up to take more points from their travels.

United have been frustrated at times at St James’s Park by teams content to sit back and play counter-attacking football. But Newcastle, beaten by Wolverhampton Wanderers in the league last weekend, have had more space away from home.

“Sometimes it is like that, especially when you are a top side in the division,” said United manager Benitez.

“Normally, teams will play a certain way when they come here.

“You could see that with Wolves the other day – their game plan was to wait and play on the counter-attack.

“We made mistakes and that was fine for them.

“They didn’t do anything different in the second game, but we changed something (for Tuesday night’s EFL Cup tie) and were much better.

“Normally, at home, the other teams will defend and know that you have to take responsibility.

“But when you are playing away, they have to attack you more and then you have a little bit more space.”

There will be more than £150million worth of talent involved at Villa Park.

And it will be the first time two Champions League-winning managers will have come up against each other in the division, with Benitez and Di Matteo having won the trophy at Liverpool and Chelsea respectively.

Benitez said: “It’s a sign of the growing strength of the division. You can see a lot of good players and good managers at big clubs.

“It is one of the strongest leagues in the world, fifth or sixth in terms of money. It’s really important and the big clubs mean it’s getting bigger.”