Rafael Benitez says he has already had more meetings at Dalian Yifang than he had at Newcastle

Rafael Benitez
Image: Rafael Benitez swapped Newcastle for China after three years at St James' Park

Rafael Benitez says he has had more meetings with the Dalian Yifang hierarchy in one week than he did in three years at Newcastle.

Writing in a blog detailing his first week in charge of the Chinese Super League side, Benitez contrasted his working relationship with the key figures at the Premier League club with the one he now enjoys in China.

Benitez had been in talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley over a new deal but the Spaniard left St James' Park when his existing deal expired on June 30 before taking up the lucrative position in China.

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"Since the moment of our arrival we have really been touched by the kindness and respect that we have been shown," wrote Benitez.

"Our hosts have treated us with great consideration and are always keen to make us happy.

"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.

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Former Newcastle striker Andy Cole believes Rafael Benitez exceeded expectations during his time at the club

"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.

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"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."

Newcastle's search for a new manager continues, with Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce understood to be under consideration to take over the club in the city of his birth.

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