Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright believes that Newcastle are now almost unrecognizable from the side that kept collapsing under former head coach Steve McClaren.
When Steve was finally sacked – far too late – we had only 24 points from 28 games played with McClaren still insisting he could save Newcastle from the drop – which he had been saying all season – he just needed more time.
And Wright thinks that if Rafa can save Newcastle, the turnaround on Tyneside would be even more important than the turnaround in that second half in Istanbul back in May, 2005.
Rafa Benitez – two games from glory?
This is what Ian Wright has said in The Sun as he made Rafa his manager of the weekend:
“All of a sudden survival looks a very real prospect for Newcastle — and you have to take your hat off to Rafa Benitez for that.”
“Saturday’s priceless win over Crystal Palace hauled them out of the bottom three for the first time since February, and made it eight points from the last four games.”
“Or, to put it another way, nearly a quarter of the points they’ve managed all season in just over two weeks. Talk about making your mark — the Spaniard has certainly done that since arriving in mid-March.”
“The Toon have looked a totally different team since Benitez got hold of them, and the fans are just praying they didn’t wait too long before giving him a call.”
“I know they’re not out of the woods yet and Sunderland have a game in hand.”
“But with Villa next up, you wouldn’t back against Rafa completing a comeback even more important than that one in Istanbul with Liverpool.”
Rafa will be drumming it into his players this week to forget all about the hype that will be building up for the game at Villa Park on Saturday – and he will have a game plan to win and get all 3 points.
Villa’s defense is hopeless and they have conceded 72 goals – 8 more than Newcastle – so we expect Newcastle to test Villa’s defense from the very first whistle on Saturday.
It’s another must win game for us – we hope the lads can get the job done.