By Coral Barry
Rafael Benitez has not lost his opening match as a new manager for 15 years in a boost to Newcastle ahead of their Premier League trip to Leicester.
The newly appointed Newcastle boss returns to the Premier League on Monday night when the Magpies travel to the leaders for the clash at the Kingpower Stadium.
Benitez has been tasked with rescuing the Magpies from the drop and ending a three-game losing streak in the league, but Newcastle will take encouragement from his debut record.
The Spaniard has taken charge of six clubs since 2001 and has never been beaten in his first match.
Benitez has picked up four wins and two draws in his managerial bows for Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid.
At the beginning of his three year stint at Valencia, where he won La Liga and the UEFA Cup, Benitez faced the most daunting of opening games against Real Madrid.
Madrid had the likes of Zinedine Zindane and Raul among their starters, but Benitez steered Valencia to a 1-0 victory.
Then at Liverpool he introduced himself to Merseysiders with a comfortable 2-0 away win against Grazer AK in the Champions League qualifying stages.
When Benitez arrived at Inter in 2010 he picked up a trophy in his first match with a 3-1 victory against Roma in the Italian Super Cup.
It is during his most recent managerial positions that Benitez’s record has begun to wane slightly with draws in his first games at Chelsea and Madrid.
His interim spell at Chelsea began with a 0-0 result at home to Manchester City and his seven-month reign as Madrid coach started off with a disappointing goalless draw against newly-promoted side Sporting Gijon in La Liga.
Those results were interrupted by his two year tenure at Napoli where he also picked up an easy three points against Bologna in his first game.
Newcastle sit second from the bottom of the table, but still remain just two points from safety.