Mata: Newcastle are a 'big club'
Benitez led the Magpies back into the Premier League by winning the Championship last season, and Mata believes they should not be underestimated despite being newly-promoted.
The Spaniard, who won the Europa League under Benitez during his time at Chelsea, believes Newcastle should be considered a big team and thus demand respect.
Mata wrote on his personal blog via Manchester United's official website: "Today, we return to training with the mindset on the Newcastle match and the importance of the months that lie ahead, as they come loaded with games, especially during the Christmas period.
"These are moments in which good form of the team can be decisive for the second part of the season.
"Returning now to our game against Newcastle on Saturday, everyone knows they are newly-promoted, but they are still a big club with several Spanish players. Among them Rafa Benitez, a manager with whom I was lucky to work with in the past.
"It will be nice to see him again. We hope to play a good game that allows us to get all three points, and continue showing that strength in Old Trafford."