Newcastle Star Shocked – Benitez Is A Fantastic Manager

We noticed on Monday night at Leicester City that both Moussa Sissoko and Gini Wijnaldum both had good games in the 1-0 defeat – the first game for Newcastle with Rafa Benitez as manager.

Moussa and Gini have been very poor on the road this season, but not on Monday night when they were prominent throughout the game for Newcastle  and especially in the second half, when Newcastle came on strongly.

When Rafa was announced last Friday as the new manager it was a complete shock for Newcastle fans and it seems it was the same for the players too.


Moussa Sissoko in action on Monday night

Moussa Sissoko has described how he was surprised when Rafa joined the club and also in his second training session we magically had a couple of players fit again – such is Rafa´s power.


This is what the 26 year-old French International has said  about the new boss:

“Yes we have a new manager now,” “We trained three sessions before the Leicester game with him, it was good.” “I think he has brought his experience, so that is good for us.”

“We are working again this week because he is a fantastic manager and I think he can help us to stay in the Premier League for next season.”

“We were surprised to see him to come to Newcastle because normally he plays every year for the title and the Champions League.” 

“He came to us so we are all happy.” “Now we have nine games left with him, he will bring his experience, so we hope be in the Premier League with him next season.”

“To do that, we need to win next Sunday against Sunderland.”

“Of course we are surprised because he worked with a lot of teams – Madrid, Napoli, Liverpool – some very good teams, so we need to listen to what he says.”

“He’s one of the best managers in the world so we need to follow him if we want to stay in the Premier League.”

“I believe in my team. I believe in the manager. I believe in everyone.” “We are a good team and we will be in the Premier League.”

“I said before, when you look at the squad we are a very good team.” “Here it was a start at Leicester with the new manager; we did well but the result wasn’t good.”

“We have some positive things, that’s good and now we need to keep going for the next game.”

Maybe Sissoko sees the opportunity of playing for that club in the Champions League every season he keeps talking about to the French press when he´s away on International duty.

Who knows – with Rafa at Newcastle – he may now be playing for that club.

If we stay in the Premier League there will not be too many of our players who want to leave Newcastle this summer – not with one of the best managers in the world on Tyneside.

Comments welcome.

27 comments so far

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Mar 16, 2016 at 12:06 AM

    Comment #1

    Instant respect from players, that is absolutely needed right now. He has the calibre to back up his strategies to show that his way works, so buy into it and you as a player will work too. It’s a big positive – belief.

  • willowdalerez

    Mar 16, 2016 at 12:14 AM

    Comment #2

    I would love to see the back of Sissoko… He plays when he wants to play. No commitment or consistency.

    Pleased with the side showing more spirit at Leicester but holding judgment on Rafa, the real tests are getting wins against Sunderland and Norwich. If that doesn’t happen he is a bomb anyway.

  • Graeme

    Mar 16, 2016 at 12:34 AM

    Comment #3

    Willow, would sooner see some one take Saylor out. 12 bore, 7.62mm doesn’t really matter. He’s absolute shite. He needs to be gone.

  • shaun83

    Mar 16, 2016 at 2:02 AM

    Comment #4

    There’s something all wrong about sissoko’s language/mind set. He’s pretty much saying oh this guy has a good cv we’ll do as we are told with this guy and we’ll put the effort in in training. As if it’s for him to decide.

  • Toon-Prodigy

    Mar 16, 2016 at 2:17 AM

    Comment #5

    Its a buzz having rafa in charge, but seriously, what chance has any manager had at success here under this regime.. We have had more managers than players. Can’t keep blaming the managers for the inept way the club is ran.

  • NUFCPaul

    Mar 16, 2016 at 3:08 AM

    Comment #6

    Firstly – people are still referring to Steven Taylor as ‘Saylor’? Why? Ryan Taylor left last summer. There’s only one Taylor left at the club.

    Secondly – Sissoko may be surprised at how good Benitez is, but Benitez isn’t surprised at how crap Sissoko is. At least not if he’s watched the majority of our games this season.

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Mar 16, 2016 at 3:17 AM

    Comment #7

    Benitez is saying he wants Sissoko to be charging into the box. Has some merit. Even if he loses it, miss-hits it or whatever it’s got a chance of causing some havoc, which isn’t the case further upfield. And one thing we know about Sissoko is that he is bloody hard to stop when he’s got the ball going full steam ahead. More effective coming from the left using that tactic too.

  • Santon03

    Mar 16, 2016 at 5:01 AM

    Comment #8

    I understand that Rafa didn’t make changes too much against Leicester because he only had couple of days. I don’t expect any miracles in just couple of days, we lose against Leicester top of the league is normal, because they are top of the league and only Arsenal who they can’t beat, but there are changes on mentality and how we play which is good, we usually conceded 2 to 3 goals after 1st goal but we fought hard and unlucky not to equalize.
    Now Rafa has more time to see the entire team and their capability, I won’t be surprised if next game we’ll see different team and much better one, I believe we will win especially the atmosphere will be different with feel good factor among the fans which will help a lot.
    We were sh1t before under different manager, we have good players but mismanaged, the same players can be good or great under correct management. 2 players who we let go and called sh1t before have become amazing players under good managers, Danny Simpson and Frazer Foster. We let go Simpson and now he is about to win the league, you wouldn’t rate any of Leicester players last season but under Ranieri they become amazing team.

    This is why I hope that Rafa will look into the team closer and give chances to previously outcast players and youngsters. We could already have someone great but became awful under awful manager before. I hope we don’t let go another “Foster”.
    I still believe that we haven’t seen the real SDJ capability. His “injuries” probably due to he was vocal and had disagreement with previous management, probably didn’t really respect them due to their style of play or management.

    I can’t say much about Saylor, he has been here for so long and under so many different management and he is still sh1t, Willo is much better than SAylor imo.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Mar 16, 2016 at 5:30 AM

    Comment #9

    We’ll know on Sunday of we will stay up. Draw or lost and it’s goodbye to premier league and rafa.

    At least now we have a chance on Sunday. Win and we’ll be on course for survival and RAFA-LUTION next season.

    That game on Sunday is absolutely massive and it will define Newcastle United for the next decade.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Mar 16, 2016 at 5:36 AM

    Comment #10

    People who like to post their predicted line up have to know rafa will go 4231. There won’t be 2 upfront. He only changes if it’s not working. Otherwise the debate will be who starts upfront alone.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 16, 2016 at 5:43 AM

    Comment #11

    Personally I think who ever loses on Sunday will go down, I just can’t see how we will pick ourselves up if we do and I can’t see us looking back if we win Going in to the Norwich game with a win behind us will prettty much condemn Norwich and tge mackems and leave one of them relying on Swansea or Palace to slip up.


    Mar 16, 2016 at 5:48 AM

    Comment #12

    ok guys what happens if we lose to mackems

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Mar 16, 2016 at 5:55 AM

    Comment #13

    4231 won’t get it done for us I fear. In that formation you need a better player than any we have as the “1”. Mitrovic is the only possible starter there really, and as much as I like him he is struggling in that role. So it sounds like I think I know more than Rafa, I guess, but we have played a lone striker all season to very poor effect. Maybe the “3” will incorporate (say) Townsend and Sissoko playing further forward with Gini behind them. Who knows. I don’t see how Perez and de Jong fit into that formation, and they are technically our best forwards I think.

  • G

    Mar 16, 2016 at 6:27 AM

    Comment #14

    I dont believe anybodys lone frontman system works, unless, they have a truly world class striker. The teams at the top this season, point of case Leicester, have been playing mainly 4 4 2, Arsenal were playing that way mainly until Xmas, and now thw wheel has fallen off, Spurs have been playing with 2 upfront for most of the season. I really dont understand why teams such as ours and most of the league play these 5 midfield positions, when they clearly dont work.

  • tweaked

    Mar 16, 2016 at 6:37 AM

    Comment #15

    the leicester result just showed they have everything going for them, we didnt have the luck as we should of won 1-0 if the offside against them and penalty for us was given

  • solz tim krul

    Mar 16, 2016 at 6:48 AM

    Comment #16

    we are going to survive. The mackems have been collecting points from for the past six games and is the time to break their hearts and break that streak.

  • Santon03

    Mar 16, 2016 at 6:49 AM

    Comment #17

    my bet is 4-4-2 diamond, SDJ or Shelvey behind 2 strikers, possibly Mitro or Doumbia with Perez. Not sure who will CB pairing.

  • Santon03

    Mar 16, 2016 at 6:53 AM

    Comment #18

    Last season after 29 games Leicester was on 19 points more than 12 points from 17th position and we were on 35 points 11th position, there’s still hope for us and teams on 33 points are not safe yet.

  • Lindisfarne

    Mar 16, 2016 at 6:58 AM

    Comment #19

    I wonder if Christian Benteke will be more likely to transfer to NUFC, now we have ex-l’pool manager and players favourite Rafa?

  • The overrated Frenchman

    Mar 16, 2016 at 6:58 AM

    Comment #20

    G@14. Agree entirely. One upfront is fine if it’s Marco van Basten. I’ll show my age here, but the great sides I grew up watching invariably had a target man and a poacher. Still think that works.

  • G

    Mar 16, 2016 at 7:13 AM

    Comment #21

    442 direct style, allows teams to attack and close down at the same time, whilst giving the opposition defence a hard time keeping shape, also allows for the long ball counter. Not pretty, but as Leicester have proved, very effective.

  • LGFUAD21

    Mar 16, 2016 at 7:18 AM

    Comment #22

    G and Frenchman

    It’s an interesting debate.

    By all accounts english teams were slow to adapt when foreign teams adopted 1 up top. Initially it meant teams could dominate the ball in the midfield and therefore create more.

    Theoretically it made for a more fluid formation with great passing channels.

    However as time went by and everybody adopted it, it resulted in big teams getting stronger because they no longer had the pressure of opposing forwards while simultaneously having the talent to pick apart the locks patiently.

    Recently overseas football has transitioned back to the 2 up top theory because the high press has become much more popular. We can see it in the success of Leicester and Watford this season.

    both 442 and 4231 are so favoured by managers because they are the most balanced, organised and easy to manage system is according to Hiddink, while a 433 requires teams to have much more possession to not becaome defensively frail. That’s probably why ajax and Barcelona can use it so well.

  • G

    Mar 16, 2016 at 7:21 AM

    Comment #23

    If your 3 up front are Suarez, Messi, and Neymar that helps too.

  • LGFUAD21

    Mar 16, 2016 at 7:21 AM

    Comment #24

    To add

    Sadly for anyone looking to get away from 4231 I think you’ll be disappointed. It’s rafas favourite by a continental mile.

    However, it’s not always what formation you adopt but how you manage it.

    While Pardew uses it to force his wide men and number 10 to drop back and help their team mates, interestingly rafa mentioned about wanting spousal to get in the box more.

    Generally that’s how it should be and we saw that against Leicester.

    Holding players were covering fullbacks more than wide men. Our sidemen just don’t get forward quick enough to help the striker out.

  • G

    Mar 16, 2016 at 7:26 AM

    Comment #25

    That is his favourite formation, but its not exclusive, throughout his career Rafa has shown he is very adaptive. I dont think he has taken over a side with so many frailties as ours before, so I suppose we are all just speculating, but it should be interesting.

  • davis_toons

    Mar 16, 2016 at 7:27 AM

    Comment #26

    Goals will come if we can keep creating. We will stay up even if it’s a draw against the black cats but we will beat.

    We got to play well. More fluid passes and we will beat them.

    If we really cant get our goal from open play we will have to get them from DEAD Ball.

    Few of those players that can score from corners / set pieces are SJD, Staylor and Lascelles.

    SJD is good in his positional sense.
    Staylor and Lascelles are typical English Defender that is willing to risk and fight for their header.

    I hope Staylor can get one for us. (wouldn’t mind giving a shorter term backup role contract if he is willing)

  • G

    Mar 16, 2016 at 7:29 AM

    Comment #27

    I agree on Taylor davis, but I think we are in the minority.


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