Dalian Yifang’s 5-1 thrashing at Tianjin Tianhai on Wednesday has fueled mounting speculation that Rafa Benitez’s days at the northeastern club could be numbered.

Having successfully steered Dalian away from the relegation zone since arriving from Newcastle United in July, Benitez has seen his side struggle to make further inroads in the latter stages of the campaign.

The team’s expensively assembled foreign front three – Marek Hamsik, Salomon Rondon and Yannick Carrasco – again failed to fire on Wednesday as struggling Tianhai ran riot.

Benitez future in doubt as dark clouds gather at Dalian

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