Rafa Benitez reveals how he would 'manage' Newcastle United's pre-season in China

Rafa Benitez says he’d be happy to take Newcastle United out to China – despite reservations about a long-haul pre-season.

By Miles Starforth
Friday, 29th March 2019, 7:54 pm
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 8:03 pm
Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

The club will take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy in July along with Manchester City, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Benitez prefers to stay closer to home in pre-season, though he understands the commercial case for going to Shanghai and Nanjing.

United’s manager – whose contract expires in the summer – has previously been to China with Liverpool and Real Madrid.

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And Benitez said: “What I have is experience in China. We have been there with different teams. You have to manage. Obviously, from the commercial point of view, it’s always positive for the club.

“In terms of the team, it’s not ideal, but you have to manage. We had this situation with Liverpool, Madrid – you have to manage and you have to try to do the best things possible.

“It’s not ideal, but you can manage.”

Asked if he had been consulted before the club confirmed its participation, Benitez said: “I knew that the club wanted to go, and after they informed about all the details.

“You know my idea. It’s to try to keep the team away from the training ground, but close enough so it’s not changing everything and only if you have all the conditions that you know. If you know the conditions are OK, that’s perfect.

“If you have to go away and you don’t control what’s going on, you can have surprises. We know the programme now and we try to manage. It could be positive? Maybe, but we have to be sure we do the right things.”

Newcastle have gone to Ireland for the past three pre-seasons.

Asked if he would also take his team to Dublin, Benitez said: “Very difficult. Because you have to go earlier, and to keep the players away all the time ... sometimes it’s not necessary. We prefer not to move the team too much.”