Rafa Benitez feels that the SkyBet Championship is one of the best leagues in the world.
Benitez goes into battle against Aston Villa's fellow Champions League winning manager Roberto Di Matteo, with both clubs experiencing mixed fortunes since being relegated from the Premier League last season.
After being questioned on his and Di Matteo's previous success in one of Europe's most prestigious competitions, Benitez responded:
You can see a lot of players and good managers in there. There are big clubs and the Championship is still one of the strongest leagues in the world.
When you analyse it you see the Spanish League, Serie A, Bundesliga up there but the Championship is fifth or sixth in terms of money and calibre of people. I think it’s really important and the level of the clubs in it gets bigger.">
Di Matteo will run the rule over strikers Rudy Gestede and Ross McCormack both aiming to be match fit for Saturday evening's game as Villa look to gain their second win of the season.
Rafa Benitez still regards Roberto Di Matteo's Aston Villa side as promotion contenders despite their poor start to the Championship campaign.
The two former champions league winning managers face off against each other in Saturday's late kick off at 5:30pm with both clubs looking to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
With Villa languishing in 18th place, Benitez still believes they are force to be reckoned with.
I think if you analyse what they have, it's a big club with a great manager and great players.
Everybody was expecting that they would be at the top of the table but it's a long race for everyone so hopefully after this game they can win some games."
Debuts were handed to Achraf Lazaar and Daryl Murphy during Newcastle United's 2-0 win against Wolves where Benitez made eight changes to his cup winning line up.
With Vurnon Anita serving the second game of his three match suspension it's expected that DeAndre Yedlin will step in to fill the void in his Championship debut for the Magpies.
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Newcastle United posted their biggest away win in the league for more than half a century at QPR - and the bad news for the club's Championship promotion rivals is Rafa Benitez is convinced they can get better.
The Magpies destroyed QPR by six goals to nil at Loftus Road last night. Newcastle remain second in the table, but they're now just a point off the top after the leaders Huddersfield slipped up away at Brighton.
Magpies Boss Rafa Benitez didn't allow himself to wallow in the glory of a record-breaking win - quite the opposite in fact - as he said his team will get better still if they cut out the "little mistakes".
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