Rafa Benitez’s reign at Dalian Yifang got off to a positive start with a 3-1 win over Henan Jianye on Sunday. The former Newcastle United manager joined the Chinese Super League side after his contract with the Toons expires at the end of last month.
The manager wrote a blog regarding his first few days in China and took a dig at Newcastle United’s owner Mike Ashley. Benitez claimed that he has held more meetings with the CSL side’s officials this week than he had in his 3 years at The Magpies.
He wrote in his blog:
“As we all know from experience, in football, just as in everyday life, when people show you respect and affection and do everything they can to make things easier for you, life is much happier, even when you face difficult moments.”
“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.”
Benitez added: “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 and we’ve worked for years in Spain, Italy and England. But this experience is like no other. Before leading a training session or managing a match I have found some challenges that I haven’t experienced in the other countries where I have worked or visited.”