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Villa Will Be Up There, Says Rafa

Written by Newcastle Utd

Rafa Benitez believes Aston Villa are one of the clubs likely to apply the pressure at the top of the table this term

By Tom Easterby - Newcastle United Club Reporter


Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez believes Aston Villa are one of the clubs likely to apply the pressure at the top of the Sky Bet Championship this season.

The Magpies travel to Villa Park tomorrow (5.30pm kick-off) to take on Roberto Di Matteo's men, who currently sit 18th in the table, with one win and five draws from their eight games so far.

But Benitez believes that a club with the stature of Villa - who, like United, were relegated from the Premier League last season - have the capability of competing for promotion, so his side will have to remain focussed this weekend.

"If you analyse what they have, they're a big club - a massive club - with a great manager and great players, and they're spending money, so everybody was expecting that they'd be at the top of the table," he said.

"But it's a long, long race for everyone. The main thing for me, is that they're a massive club with very good players and manager.

"I said when we played against Derby that they could be up there, and with (Villa) it's more or less the same. But you have to give credit to the other teams at the top of the table now, because they are doing well.

"In one month, everything can change, so we have to keep doing our job, and we have to be sure that we are at the top of the table."

United recovered from the 2-0 league defeat at home to Wolves last weekend with a victory over the same opposition, by the same scoreline, in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night.

And in such a competitive league, Benitez is keen for his team to become more consistent, with the visit of second-placed Norwich City on Wednesday night coming soon after the trip to Villa Park.

"I said before that we need consistency, and I have the same feeling," he explained. "One game doesn't change anything; maybe the perception from outside, but from inside, we carry on doing the same things. We know that it's a long race, and we have to keep working hard and try to analyse what we do wrong and change quickly.

"One bad game and one good game means that we know which is the right way, and we have to try to keep going the same way.

"You can see a lot of good players, good managers and big clubs. The Championship is one of the strongest leagues in the world, so when you analyse you see the Spanish league, Serie A, the Bundesliga, but the the Championship is fifth or sixth in terms of money and people."

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