On Saturday afternoon, Rafa Benitez will head to the Mestalla with his Celta Vigo side aiming to pick up just their second victory of the season in La Liga. While the 63-year-old will be fully focused on the task at hand, he will allow himself to enjoy things pre-match as he returns to his former club.
Benitez is taking on Valencia for the first time in eight years, having returned to Spanish football with Celta for the first time since leaving Real Madrid in 2016. Los Che will always be another home for Benitez, as he enjoyed tremendous success there, winning two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup in a three-year spell.
Speaking ahead of the match (via Marca), Benitez admitted that he is looking forward to returning to the Mestalla.
“Of course it’s special. It will be endearing. The treatment was exceptional and a competitive team dynamic was created and some of the players I had are now coaches that have a methodology that has similarities to what we did. For me, that is a great satisfaction. I’ve been there before and they’ve been brilliant towards me.”
Benitez also discussed Iago Aspas ahead of the trip to Los Che. The veteran striker bagged his first goal of the season two weeks ago against Athletic Club, and Benitez hopes that he can now hit top form.
“After the San Mames goal, I hope he gets back on track. From an standpoint of being able to unlock a defence, he can be very important.”
Benitez will hope that it is a very happy return to Valencia for he and his Celta Vigo side, who need to start picking up victories if they are to pull themselves away from relegation trouble.