By Emma Sanders
Rafa Benitez has spoken out about his transition from managing Real Madrid against Barcelona, to preparing to take on Burton Albion with Newcastle.
The Magpies boss has been a revelation since he joined Newcastle at the end of last season and he has guided the Championship side to the top of the table.
Just 12 months ago, Benitez was the manager of Real Madrid and he was about to take charge of the Spanish champions in El Classico, where they faced against Barcelona.
However, with Saturday’s fixture against Burton on the horizon, Benitez insists he does not see the Championship as any less than the clash between the two European giants at the Bernabeau.
“People said when I came here ‘Oh, Rafa is going to the Championship.’ It wasn’t a problem for me because I have been around the small neighbourhoods of Madrid when there are only the parents of the games watching,” said Benitez, as quoted by the Chronicle.
“I never had a problem in the past and I don’t have a problem now. For me it is an opportunity to manage your team and do something good for the people supporting the club. In terms of the game it’s 11 v 11.”
Newcastle currently hold a one point lead over Brighton and they will go into the clash against the 21st-placed side as favourites on Saturday at the Pirelli Stadium.
Benitez’ side have won their last two fixtures despite previous to that suffering a slight dip in form during losses against Nottingham Forest and Hull.
They thrashed Birmingham 4-0 at St James’ Park last Saturday before keeping a second successive clean sheet on Wednesday evening during a close 2-0 encounter against relegation-battlers, Wigan.
Benitez has managed a number of top sides as well as Real Madrid, including Liverpool, Valencia and Chelsea.
In other Newcastle news, this is the expected starting XI against Burton.