Rafa Benitez has scrapped days off the Newcastle players used to get with former head coach according to The Mail and is taking time in the afternoons to go through team shape and tactics as he tries everything to turn around what has been one of the most disastrous seasons in years for Newcastle United under woeful former head coach Steve McClaren.
McClaren wasn’t solely to blame for this particular disaster, with the new Newcastle Board also being woeful this season in not getting the right players in after we spent a massive £82M on eight players in the last two transfer windows – more than any other Premier League club.
Rafa has also introduced double training sessions on some days as he gets the team ready for the all important derby game on Sunday afternoon at St. James’ Park.
Rafa Benitez at Leicester City
Three days before a game McClaren used to give the grossly under-performing Newcastle players ample time off so they could rest and mentally prepare for each game – and a fat lot of good that seemed to do.
Rafa is using the afternoons to talk to the players about team shape and tactics as he tries to get Newcastle to play in a more cohesive way on the pitch.
Rafa is also apparently trying to keep things simple, because he is well aware because of his vast experience in the game that changing thing too much too quickly could confuse the players.
After Saturday’s game he will have a full two weeks to prepare the side for the game at Norwich on Saturday, April 2nd.
This is what a Newcastle source has told The Mail:
‘The new manager has come in and made a real impression. He has an aura about him and immediately has everyone’s respect.”
“It was certainly needed. It looks like he’s going to do everything in his power to keep them up.”
Goalkeeper Rob Elliot has also said Rafa is taking time out not to confuse the players:
“He just wants us to be more of a team and keeps emphasizing we have to keep it simple.”
“Rafa wants us to play simple football and work together, cover each other. That’s it really, it’s been a message intended to relax us and get us focused on the run-in.”
“He’s not going to come in and change the football dramatically because he just wants us to keep it simple and work hard.”
“But he also wants us to develop as a side — and most importantly start winning games.”
Now that Andros Townsend has proved his fitness it’s expected the former Tottenham winger will start on the wing in place of Ayoze Perez for this all important game for both Newcastle United and Sunderland.
A win would be phenomenal against an improving Sunderland side and would finally get us started on the road to recovery and potential survival in the Premier League, after four successive defeats since we beat West Brom.
Howay The Lads!!