Rafa Benitez has been discussing the season so far, the United boss saying that it is a misconception that all teams play long ball/second ball football.

The former Real Madrid Manager says that instead, a lot of this season’s rivals play the ball on the floor, but use various systems that he has found an interesting challenge.

As for the overall quality of the league?

Rafa Benitez gives an honest answer, saying that ‘The Championship is quite good’ and adding that it is ‘better than people think’.

Rafa was being interviewed by the league sponsors after winning October’s Manager of the month award – though there would have been a steward’s enquiry if he hadn’t won it, after a perfect five wins out of five.

For someone who has managed in the Premier League, Champions League, La Liga and Serie A, the Newcastle Manager would have been less than truthful if he had said the Championship was brilliant.

It is what it is, a lot of decent teams giving their all, with a handful who have a little more about them – the sheer challenge of 46 matches to get through, with the added hindrance of numerous international breaks, means that maybe the biggest problem for Rafa Benitez has been the lack of preparation time before many of the matches.

He does though seem to be coping quite well…

Rafa Benitez:

“The Championship is quite good, better than people think.

“Everybody was saying it was long ball or second ball football but it is not like that.

“You have a lot of teams that play on the floor and pass the ball, tactically they have different systems and it is quite interesting for a manager. You have got to adapt to different systems and situations during the game.

The mood is really good and we are playing well, scoring goals and not conceding too many – we also have to understand the style of the Championship.

“When you play at home you play on the floor, when you play away you then have to defend long balls and set-pieces.

“I think the mood is good and we are growing and improving but at the beginning it wasn’t nice-  because we thought we could do better.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose the (Fulham and Huddersfield) games, maybe draws were more realistic.

“We lost and had to live with that but we sent the same message out, the team was working hard and little by little we were changing things.”