Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez feels Chelsea stay could have been longer

Ajustar Comentario Impresión

Ahead of Chelsea v Newcastle, live on Sky Sports Premier League, Rafa Benitez discusses his memories of his short spell at Stamford Bridge, the challenges he faced, and the "belief" he has in his current team.

Rafael Benitez heads back to Chelsea today for the first time since 2012-13, when he was appointed as the club's temporary manager following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo despite remaining an unpopular figure with a large section of the fanbase owing to his part in a rivalry with former employers Liverpool that raged throughout the 2000s.

Unfortunately for Benitez, his side again failed to hold on to their advantage as Hazard, recalled after being named on the bench against Swansea in midweek, levelled.

Newcastle took an early lead after sloppy Chelsea defending allowed Dwight Gayle to pounce.

Hazard was denied twice in one-on-one situations by Darlow before he was given the chance of a second goal when Moses was tripped by Matt Ritchie.

The Spaniard spent six months in charge of the west London outfit, winning the Europa League in the process, but he never truly endeared himself to the Chelsea fans, who were frustrated with his defensive approach to games.

Danny Drinkwater, making only his second Chelsea start in the Premier League, was the next to go close with a shot which drifted away from the far post. The Spain international nodded in from barely a yard out.

However, the lead didn't last long for the visitors with the Belgian on the scoresheet.

"Most fans realised the best way was to stay calm and let us do our job". Constantly finding space, weaving in and out of defenders like they were children and if it wasn't for two magnificent saves by Karl Darlow, he'd have scored four.

They remain five points clear of the relegation zone but come January could easily find themselves in yet another dogfight. "Everybody, in the end, was happy because we won the Europa League and also we qualified for the Champions League".

One should keep in mind that Terry's renaissance under Mourinho was largely down to the Portuguese's 'pragmatic' tactics.

Pedro has always been the quiet man in a team of loud superstars but his demurring manner means his qualities are sometimes overlooked.