The Spaniard left St. James' Park at the end of last season, signing with Dalian Yifang, after he could not agree on extension with the club's hierarchy.
Benitez told Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports: "Not really. I had a lot of confidence in the team. You can see the group of players, the way they were working last year, the commitment and passion they had.
"You can see a team that is organised, they are pushing and they are working especially when they play at home.
"The fans are supporting them, and even if they don't have too many fans they are still out supporting them. I can see the team doing well and I don't think they will be relegated."
On his exit from the club, Benitez added that he was guilty of having too much ambition.
He continued: "If I was guilty of anything, it was to work really hard and to have some ambition. We gave the fans hope that we could go forward and improve that.
"I'm really pleased they are doing well and I'm really pleased for Steve Bruce because he's doing a great job.
"When you are watching the table, we finished 10th and 13th and you are expecting the next step to do the right things and be in the top ten. But it was not the idea and it's fine.
"The fans, the staff, the players - everybody was pushing. Everybody was trying to do what I said when I decided to stay in the Championship.
"It's a massive club and has the potential."