Benitez has quite the impressive CV, something that commands respect from his squad.
The Spaniard has reasserted his reputation as one of the most impressive tacticians in the game by transforming Newcastle from a side in perpetual disarray and lumbered with underperforming players to one flying high at the top of the Championship with a squad that would not look out of place in the Premier League.
This is a far cry from Benitez’s most recent managerial roles at Real Madrid and Napoli, where he endured a testing relationship with many of his players, most notably Cristiano Ronaldo and Marek Hamsik.
And Atsu, who is finally finding his feet in English football after disappointing loan spells at Bournemouth and Everton, believes he has already improved as a player after just a few months under Benitez’s stewardship.
“It is a great honour to work under Rafa Benitez. He is a great coach,” the Ghanaian international said in quotes reported by The Chronicle.
“He has given me a lot of confidence and he is always encouraging me and I’m really learning a lot from him.
“I’m very happy that I am getting good game time and it will help me to improve my game and my stamina.
“I’ve been trying to pay more attention to my body and since doing that I am getting better also.”
Atsu has not been a regular starter in black and white this term but has often impressed when coming off the bench and recently credited his improved form to a more professional mind-set and the faith bestowed upon him by his manager.
After all, Benitez appears to have handed the winger one final chance to stake his claim in English football, an opportunity Atsu has seized