Here´s One Huge Difference Between Benitez And McClaren

Newcastle were 3-0 down after just 17 minutes in the game at Stamford Bridge  on February 13th this year in what was a huge game for us, after we had just registered our first win in a long time against West Brom – and we even played well in getting the 1-0 home win.

At half time in the Arsenal game in February 2011 five years ago – shortly after Alan Pardew joined the club we had a  similar situation and were 4-0 down at half time.

We don´t know exactly what happened at half time in that game, but we came roaring back and scored four goals in the last 24 minutes to get that famous 4-4 draw – the greatest ever comeback in Premier League history.

steven gerrard rafa benitez

Winners – Steven Gerrard and Rafa Benitez

And one of the greatest and most emotional games we have ever watched not involving Newcastle – was the Champions League final back in May, 2005 in Istanbul when Liverpool found themselves 3-0 down at half time against AC Milan.

The game looked all over – well to most people and certainly to the English TV commentators who talked about ¨damage limitation” at half time..

But what happened was the Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez changed the Liverpool formation and brought on former Newcastle player Dietmar (Didi) Hamann in defensive midfield – and the rest is history.

Liverpool went on led by a great second half display from captain Steven Gerrard to sensationally win that game on penalties after drawing level at 3-3 in normal time – the greatest ever comeback in Champions League history.

steve mcclaren - cheslea had just equalized

Steve McClaren – not a winner

So going back to half time at Stamford Bridge in that critical game for Newcastle when we were 3-0 down at half time to Chelsea – what did Steve McClaren do?

He gave up the chase and went into what the Brits call damage limitation mode.

That basically means you accept defeat and want to limit the extent of the loss.

Newcastle lost 5-1 and the rest is history.

The squad was whisked away on a five day holiday to  the south of Spain with McClaren insisting all was in fact OK and they would work very hard and sort things out in Spain.

We lost the next two games,  1-0 at Stoke when we went all out for a 0-0 draw and then 3-1 at home last Saturday to Bournemouth for our 5th defeat in the last 6 games.

In short – that is one huge difference between Steve McClaren and Rafa Benitez.

Rafa is a winner – Steve McClaren is not.

Actions speak louder than words.

16 comments so far

  • Ron Knee

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:24 AM

    Comment #1

    We have a nucleus of good players but not enough, so Benitez faces an enormous task – a bit like asking a brain surgeon to perform a delicate operation with a bread knife and a pair of pliers.

  • gorgonzola ( former Pecorino former to gorgonzola)

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:24 AM

    Comment #2

    Agreed. But also he is not a miracle performer. But I am over the bloody moon that he is here. I actually cannot believe that it was possible for somebody of that stature to come to this freak show.

    If these clowns have any pride in them and a single intelligent cell left in their brain, they would leave him to do absolutely whatever he wants.

    Otherwise they are wasting the man’s time and taking the p1ss on all of us.

  • firebug666

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:28 AM

    Comment #3


    It may take him this game and another week of training, but he will change their mentality, player them in their most effective positions, and give them a game plan for each match that he can tweak throughout the match.

    That’s something we have been lacking for a long time mate. It will be the same players, but a different Newcastle.

  • Ron Knee

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:34 AM

    Comment #4


    I’m not expecting anything from the Leicester match. Most teams don’t fancy going there.

    I’m looking forward to some intelligent tactical changes, singularly lacking under McClaren!

  • hibbitt

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:36 AM

    Comment #5

    a point at leicester would give us a massive lift putting us in the right frame of mind for the mackems a win in that game and the world would be a brighter place ………with rafe at lest we have a chance

  • firebug666

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    Comment #6


    I’m the same mate, wrote of the points for the Leicester game (so if we get any that’s a bonus), but I expect to see an improved Newcastle team for the home derby game.

    Benitez is no fool, and he will get the best out of what we have, and I think that will be enough to save this season.

  • Ron Knee

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    Comment #7


    I agree we have a better chance now of avoiding relegation. I expect a better performance from the team. A bit of luck would be handy too!

  • Derek

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:46 AM

    Comment #8

    Rafa may have a good chance of increasing players confidence and get our offensive players scoring more goals.

    HOWEVER, no manager in the world is going to make our current back 4 capable of defending at a Premier League level in just 10 games, especially considering the injuries.

    We are still going to concede a truck load of goals with Rafa and just scraping together enough points to keep us up is the best we can hope for..

  • firebug666

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:48 AM

    Comment #9


    Luck would be nice, Ashley said we have to make our own luck, but so far this season Charnley and Co haven’t been able to get the parts.

    Maybe that’s about to change too!

  • magpie6699

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:53 AM

    Comment #10

    Strangely, I am now more desperate that we stay up so that we can start next season with some real hope of improvement under a good manager. I’d never want us to be relegated or even lose a game but even had we scraped survival under SM I would have been very pessimistic about next season. If we go down, I don’t suppose Rafa would contemplate not activating his escape clause? Too much to hope for!
    As far as Monday goes, I have no hopes other than a good performance . I read some good points on a Leicester blog when they were discussing whether they should be worried about us now we’ve got a new / decent manager and they pointed out that they’ve beaten the likes of Spurs with Poch etc. so no reason to be afraid, which is a fair point.

  • the broons

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #11


    Totally agree, the Leicester game is a write off not because of the fact we are playing top of the league. But because our only competent defender Mbemba is out injured.

  • firebug666

    Mar 13, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    Comment #12

    Leicester: L
    Sunderland: W
    Norwich: W
    Southampton: L
    Swansea: W
    Liverpool: D
    Crystal Palace: W
    Aston Villa: W
    Spurs: D

    That’s my prediction for us under Benitez 17 points.

  • Magtoonpie

    Mar 13, 2016 at 8:31 AM

    Comment #13

    We have enough great players that have been playing mediocre and not paired adequately or in consistent formations. Take Aarons, he should never be played that far back as you can clearly see what he is capable when he plays attacking compared to defensive. I know well see an immediate change tomorrow, it will be tough but it will be entertaining again.

  • ArtyH

    Mar 13, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #14

    @ Firebug, yes mate I think that is what we need to stay up but may be a bit optimistic, IMHO if we can beat the Mack’s and then win one more point than them we will stay up. IMHO its a three team league and either us or the Mack’s are down, just pray its them not us.
    As for next season I think Rafa will stay on at least for the one year to see if he can get us up first try after all he will have 2m reasons to stay and lets face it he will NEVER get as much adoration ANYWHERE like he is going to get here. If he stays it will be the turning point for the club I have no doubt as he will know exactly what to do to repair the damage cause over the years by the sycophants who have contributed to the state we find ourselves in now. Come on Rafa 🙂


    Mar 13, 2016 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #15

    dont forget man city at home lads

  • Malta Mag

    Mar 13, 2016 at 6:55 PM

    Comment #16

    With regards the Cup final it has to be asked why Dieter Hamman hadn’t started? Benitez like other managers makes mistakes and by not playing Hamman he nearly made the ultimate one. Luckily for him and Liverpool he got away with it.
    I am however thrilled at his appointment and can’t wait to see what impact he will have?


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