Rafa Benitez is not only a very smart coach and obviously simply world-class, but he is also very experienced and knows when not to comment about thorny issues.
We suppose that’s what 30 years in coaching and 23 years in management get you.
The way he played down Sam Allardyce’s comments during his news conference for the Crystal Palace game last Friday was smart.
Rafa Benitez thanks Andros Townsend on Saturday
Rafa was told Sam Allardyce said the Palace players would not be trying too hard on Saturday and the Spaniard brushed aside that (stupid) comment and wouldn’t get involved in the childish mind-games that sometimes go on between managers.
And on Sky Sport he was asked if Steve McClaren had been sacked earlier would Newcastle be in a better position in the league table at the moment.
He sidestepped that little minefield by saying the following:
”I think it’s not fair if I say something about that. Always time is important for any manager.”
“We are where we are and we enjoy this challenge right now and we will try to enjoy it until the end of the season.”
“When we came we had a lot of injuries, we lost Rob Elliot and Massadio Haidaria who could have been an option.”
“We were playing with Vurnon Anita at left-back at the beginning, now we have him at right-back.”
“There were too many problems but the reaction of the players and the way they work every day in training is making a difference.”
“I can give a message but they have to go out on the pitch and perform.”
Aston Villa are next up and they are truly dead and buried in the Premier League with just 16 points from their 36 games.
But that doesn’t mean Saturday’s game will be easy and it will be anything but – as we expect the Villa players to try to get one last win for their fans.
Somehow Newcastle have to win this game for only our third away win of the season in our very last road game.
This season has again turned out to be a disastrous campaign for a club that has been run by incompetent people for far too long.
Hopefully that will all change this summer if we can avoid relegation in our final two games.