When we think of what coaching is all about, the first person we think of is Sir Bobby Robson, because he could take a group of players and get the best out of them and weld them into a good side.
He did that Ipswich and at Newcastle, when he took over the side in early September of 1999 when we were second bottom of the league with one point from the first seven games.
And we are seeing that with Rafa Benitez now how he can mold a group of players into a fighting outfit and has them well drilled and we looked a good team last night.
But it may be he was brought in to save us far too late – and the powers that be at Newcastle were hoping Steve McClaren would turn things around – but he never did.
Rafa Benitez on the touchline
He’ll be resting up today after some workout last night
When you look at the side that started last night, who would have thought that players like Karl Darlow, Vurnon Anita, Jamaal Lascelles, Cheick Tiote and Papiss Cisse were all starting for Newcastle and they all played very well in what was a rare united team performance from Newcastle.
Indeed, Vurnon Anita looked excellent at right back and he scored a great goal and Daryl Janmaat is going to find it very difficult to get his place back this season.
Maybe that’s poetic justice after Daryl broke a couple of fingers in his hand when having it out with a wall – and the wall won.
Rafa seems the consummate coach, who is always respectful and positive when talking about his players – and he also had a good workout himself last night on the touch-line as he seemed to kick every ball.
Nobody can ever accuse Rafa Benitez of not doing absolutely everything he can to save Newcastle from the drop this season – and we are just so impressed with the man.
He seems to have the complete respect of his players (not to mention the fans) and he left out top players Gini Wijnaldum and Jonjo Shelvey last night and they will need to buck up their ideas if they are to start in this Rafa Benitez side.
Rafa doesn’t have any problem in dropping top players if he thinks they can give more both in games and in training and in truth Gini should be dropped a while ago after some insipid performances in away games.
It was also good to see young Rolando Aarons on the bench again and finally come on late in the game – obviously that was reward for some good training from the 20 year-old.
Last night was an excellent performance from our team and they were so well-drilled it was great to watch them and the defense even looked solid enough.
A special mention for goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who made about four good saves last night – one was simply a brilliant reflex save from a Navas right wing shot and Karl got a strong hand to the ball and sent it just wide of his right hand post.
Who said Karl and Jamaal were not ready for the Premier League and they are now looking very good signings for the club and they have excellent temperaments.
It’s a bit late, but in the last two games we have seen what the Newcastle side could have been from the start of the season if we had hired a manager of Rafa Benitez’ ability, experience and strong character.
There’s still hope for the future – if we can avoid the drop.
In fact if we can dodge the bullet for the second season running we have complete faith that Rafa will sort out the problems in the team and also at the club, where he will be given vast control of things.
In his 30 years of coaching he has earned that – and we know the top guy running the club – Rafa – knows what he’s talking about and has the trophies and vast respect to prove it.
For a workaholic like Rafa Benitez, who could talk to you all day about football – to be manager of a club like Newcastle – where the fans are the most passionate around – it seems like a match made in heaven.
Here’s hoping we can survive.
Howay The Lads!!