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Some Fascinating Insights On Benitez From Former Player

10:36 pm, Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 50 Comments

Vicente Rodriguez is a former Spanish International midfielder (38 caps – 3 goals) who played at Valencia under Rafa Benitez when Rafa was the manager there from 2001 before joining Liverpool in 2004.

Vicente finally left Valencia in 2011 and played for Brighton & Hove Albion for a couple of seasons playing 31 games with 5 goals for the south coast side.

He retired in April 2014 and last January he returned to work with Valencia as a member of their technical staff.

Vincent _212717c

Vicente Rodriguez – former Valencia midfielder

While he no longer gives interviews he made an exception with the Argus in Brighton a few days ago and gave an exclusive interview.

In the interview he has talked about Rafa Benitez and said he understood why Rafa stayed at Newcastle and has some great insights into the man who is now leading Newcastle United forward:

“From the minute Rafa accepted the difficult challenge of trying to save Newcastle from relegation, knowing him as I do it didn’t surprise me at all that he stayed with them in the Championship.”

“I saw how the fans loved him, how they were asking him to stay. These are things that Rafa places a lot of value in.”

“I understand that Rafa, who is a person with high values, felt in debt to all these people and accepted the task of taking them back to the Premier.”

“Apart from being a top class coach, he is a man of commitment.”

“I’ve got the best possible memories of Rafa, no doubt.”  “With Rafa we achieved goals with Valencia which have never been repeated.”

“We won titles in Spain and Europe, we were highly competitive.”

“It is very hard to battle for the league with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and we won two titles in three years.”

“We did the double by winning the UEFA Cup. They were the best years in the recent history of Valencia.”

“He’s a top level coach. In many ways he has always been ahead of his time.”

“When he arrived at Valencia and applied his methods, along with his coaching staff, who were also top class, the results were incredible.”

“He transmitted a winning mentality. He took care of all aspects of the game, the training sessions, the preparation of a footballer.”

“He has an enormous capacity for work. And he has had success at Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter, Napoli – there’s a reason for that.”

“As a coach he could always get the best out of you, which is key for a player and for a team. He would demand the absolute maximum.”

“But on the other side he was the sort who would help you during troubled times and just get the best he could from you.”

“I like that. Having demands placed upon you is what helps you grow”.

It certainly looks like Newcastle United are now in very good hands for the future.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Other News

50 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jail for Ashley // Aug 30, 2016 at 10:43 PM

    RAFA IN!

  • 2 gorgonzola ( former Pecorino former to gorgonzola) // Aug 30, 2016 at 10:51 PM


  • 3 Belfast // Aug 30, 2016 at 10:51 PM

    Lose the CAPS Buster or I’m pulling the plug on you.

  • 4 Belfast // Aug 30, 2016 at 10:53 PM

    I see Chelsea are trying to re-sign sideshow Bob. God knows why like

  • 5 bettyswallocks // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:04 PM

    The summary from this guy who was directly involved with Rafa makes The Overrated Frenchman’s assessment seem rather ridiculous .

    To disrespectfully call our manager a money grabbing yes man without grounds shows him up as the ignoramus he is.

  • 6 Tsunki // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:13 PM

    Betty you’re a money grabbing yes man. 🙂

  • 7 bettyswallocks // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:13 PM

    If Wilshere goes to Palace and stays fit that’s one hell of a squad to work with. It doesn’t seem right that dikchead having all those players to play out of position.

  • 8 Tsunki // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:13 PM

    caps out!

  • 9 bettyswallocks // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:15 PM

    Tsunki….. Ok. I’ll take that as long as you don’t dare say it about Rafa.

  • 10 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:17 PM

    TOF is clearly an opinionated guy who has zero trust in Ashley, Charnley and Carr. Whilst he may have probably gone to far in his criticisms of Rafa, I’m fairly certain he won’t be alone amongst our fan base in expecting the rug to be pulled from underneath, and everything to collapse around us.

    I don’t think Rafa is a yes man, but it will take longer than one summer for me to trust Ashley’s intentions. I don’t have a problem with either Charnley or Carr in their roles, as both are competent provided they aren’t promoted above their station. If it does all prove to be a facade, now, in 6 months, next summer, or in 18months, then I’d expect Rafa to walk like the principled man he is.

    TOF is (imo) wrong on Rafa being compliant with it all and more of the same, but I don’t blame him for having reservations about everything, and I don’t think it makes him an ignoramus.

  • 11 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:20 PM

    He will only have them another month or so. He needs results immediately. I’m not sure his mate Parish can protect him if they don’t start winning soon.

    Boro (a), Stoke (h), Everton(a) and Sunderland(a) with Southampton (a) in the cup is his next 5 games. He has to beat Stoke, and probably 4 points from Boro and Sunderland to keep his job I reckon.

  • 12 Belfast // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:23 PM

    Tsunki you’re a poor mans Pokat.

    Where’s this Palace bid for Sulky then ? Hopefully it’s here in the morning. 🙂

  • 13 bettyswallocks // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:30 PM

    Lilongwe……. With all due respect I have to strongly disagree with your comments. To be still dubious about Ashley’s intentions is one thing but to question Rafa’s sincerity, honesty and integrity without cause does indeed make this very over rated Frenchman a total ignoramus.

    Rafa is highly respected and has never given cause for such slanderous insults. He has applied himself wholeheartedly to the task of building a successful football club at Newcastle after its many years of incompetent handling. Anyone who can’t see that Rafa Benitez is a genuine guy needs to vastly improve their judgement.

  • 14 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:34 PM

    I think TOF is just wary of everything, such is his disdain for those who he feels should have got their marching orders from the club. From memory (and this could be my memory playing tricks) his outburst calling on Rafa’s integrity came on the article where we were linked with the French winger from Marseille, and all of his worries and reservations came to the fore.

    From what I have seen he hasn’t criticised Rafa’s integrity consistently, it was only on this occasion that he did so, and was probably more an overreaction to a rumour that he felt indicated the club hadn’t changed.

    If I am wrong, and he has been consistently doing it through the summer and I have just failed to notice it, then I withdraw my defence.

  • 15 bettyswallocks // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    LILO. He quite clearly suggested that Rafa was only interested in money and just another one of Ashley’s yes men.

    Alternative views are fine but blatant disrespect to a really genuine person can’t be right.

  • 16 bettyswallocks // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:43 PM

    He only stopped commenting in such a way when his comments were met with so much indignation, but not before defending his rights to hold those views.

    He has no right to make such unfounded accusations.

  • 17 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:45 PM

    Yeah, I agree. It isn’t right or fair to accuse Rafa of that, but was it just that occasion when we were linked with the French winger? Let’s face it, most of us have been guilty of overreacting to something regarding NUFC, and will have said stuff that in hindsight was very unfair on the individual in question.

    I haven’t seen him do it since, and hadn’t seen him do it before. If he had been and still is, then I withdraw my attempted defence of him. A major overreaction, definitely. Unfair on Rafa, certainly. But I’d imagine TOF would probably admit that (provided we don’t sign a french winger from Mondial tomorrow).

    Anyway, I’m happy to leave it there, as it isn’t my argument, and in reality I can’t speak of how TOF thinks.

  • 18 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:46 PM

    Fair enough, I haven’t been on much since last week, so if it continued, and he still defended his views then maybe I’m off the mark on this one.

  • 19 bettyswallocks // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:53 PM

    Lilo….. Ok we’ll forget him and his unwarranted insults to the best thing that has happened to our club for years.

    Do you think we have a strong enough squad now to go straight back up?

  • 20 lesh // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:54 PM


    That’s a pretty angry sounding post about Ashley, Churnley and Rafa.

    Somebody or something rattled your cage tonight?

  • 21 lesh // Aug 30, 2016 at 11:58 PM


    The over-rated Frenchman obviously done it, innit.

  • 22 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:02 AM

    Yes, I think we do. If Sissoko stays then with Atsu coming in I think we will be done. If Sissoko goes I’d like 1 more attacking player who can play wide or in behind.

    I’m a little wary of the centre backs, all of them have mistakes in them, but hard work and organisation through coaching can help to mitigate that, and that is one of Rafa’s strong points.

    I think people seem to be overestimating the level of opposition we will face. There are some decent teams, but most are workmanlike, and given the signings made we can match that plus have a little bit more ability in the tank.

    We are probably looking at Norwich, Villa, Brighton, Derby are probably the big challengers. Then Wolves, Sheff Wed, possibly Fulham and Reading could do well if they can build momentum. If you were to go through each of their squads, how many players would you take from each and put in our starting 11? Probably 2 max, 1 for most of them and none for some.

    We have a stronger squad than most, we have the best manager, the biggest stadium and crowd which, when on a roll, becomes a further advantage. If we don’t go up, there need to be serious questions asked imo.

    Not that I think we will walk it. Everyone will give it their all against us, and there will be hiccups along the way. I think we will win the league, but don’t expect us to break the 100 points barrier as many predicted.

  • 23 lesh // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:03 AM


    I was talking to a Brighton fan tonight and he was waxing lyrical about Rafa. He particularly mentioned the huge amounts of money he gave tk Merseyside causes when he was at and left Liverpool.

    Tight? No way. A godsend to us? Most certainly.

  • 24 bettyswallocks // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:19 AM

    Lilo….. Interesting to see the way he has assessed his squad and scythed through it in such a clinical way. To have kept so many players on the periphery who were never going to be used made no sense. He has obviously chosen experienced players mixed with some pacey individuals.
    I’m glad to see he’s thinking more long term with Sterry and Armstrong .Giving them new contracts and then sending them out to get more mileage rather than giving them the odd run out where they would be maybe too desperate to impress makes more sense.

  • 25 jimmysmith // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:19 AM

    Pardew could do with a bit of luck over the next month. Having been instrumental in putting together such a formidable group of attacking players at such a relatively modest club it seems a bit unfair that his fate will hang on the next six to seven games, but I agree, it probably does.

    It does also of course give some indication of the level of investment that we will necessarily be looking at if we are to realise Rafa’s ambitions for the club, and Ashley will doubtless be asked to dip in to his own pocket at some stage. Which of course will be a critical moment for us.

  • 26 SPRINGY // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:19 AM

    lesh from previous
    i dont think i have it in me to be good mate,so i’ll just have to hope what we all expect to happen,doe’s happen with regards to pardew.

  • 27 SPRINGY // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:21 AM

    happy birthday welshie…you have’nt commented for a while so i’m guessing your upside down by now!!lol

  • 28 bettyswallocks // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:22 AM

    Lesh…… Exactly. He’s well liked and respected everywhere. Maybe some of his tactics have been questioned as nobody is infallible but his motives and character should not be doubted.

  • 29 Lilongwe Geordie // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:27 AM

    The squad needed it last summer, but many were afraid too much change would lead to a team that doesn’t gel. In the end, we kept some of the presences in the dressing room that were negatively affecting the attitude within the group, particularly when we didn’t start too well.

    He seems to have gone for people who will work hard within the group, but also will be willing to fight for a spot next season if we go up and superior players are brought in. Or players who won’t kick up a stink if they are back up, and will just get on with their jobs and be ready when called upon.

    As for the loans of Sterry and Armstrong, it is definitely good to see the club embracing the loan system more. There is only so much you can learn playing in vaguely competitive U21 (now U23) football. Hopefully both have good spells and come back the better for it. Long may it continue.

  • 30 SPRINGY // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:28 AM

    seems the loaning of fringe players and some with injury problems is a good move,sdj,mbabu,arma,sterry….all good movesv in one way or another,and to go thru the whole team with getting rid of players and not becoming there best bud like previous managers have,is great and refreshing to see….we may not like that some of players that left were liked but if they were no good or need to prove there fitness or class levels has got to be seen as good management.

  • 31 lesh // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:30 AM


    If you can’t be a really good boy before Christmas, you’ll have to write a really good letter to Santa. Be careful it doesn’t catch fire when you post it up the chimney though otherwise Pardew’s off the hook.

    Have faith bonny lad, he’s spent a lot of money and it’s up to him to show how good he really is – or thinks he is.

  • 32 SPRINGY // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:34 AM

    you seen it here so many times,to partially quote the godfather…just when we thought he was out…he managed to pull himself back in!…..he did that so many times…looked dead and buried at newcastle then pulled it out the bag the slippery eel.

  • 33 SPRINGY // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:38 AM

    so is sissoko to get his move before end of play tomorrow…what you’s all reckon?

  • 34 bettyswallocks // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:45 AM

    Springy….. I like that he has identified the players that might be useful next season and loaned them out to be sure they get games and in other cases to see if they can maintain fitness.

    As Lilo points out he has also got rid permanently of the ones that think they are too good to play in the Championship or likely to whinge if left out.

    He definitely has one eye on what we’re gonna need next season in the PL.

  • 35 bettyswallocks // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:49 AM

    My concern for tomorrow is that someone comes in with a big offer for Mbabu. This lad is getting better and better under Rafa and as I’ve stated before can defend and play football.

  • 36 bettyswallocks // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:51 AM

    Mbemba not Mbabu.

  • 37 jimmysmith // Aug 31, 2016 at 12:52 AM

    If he does, lets hope its for the full whack, and if he doesn’t, that Rafa can get him on board. If it is in fact too late to replace him, given we won’t carry an extra body, then even at 35 million I’d prefer he stay.

  • 38 chicousa // Aug 31, 2016 at 2:13 AM

    I hear you! I have the same fear about a last minute swoop to get Mbemba. Those rumors a couple weeks ago about Arsenal sniffing around for a deal have thankfully evaporated….but still won’t relax until the window is closed. Gotta believe Rafa would not deal such a valuable player!

  • 39 chicousa // Aug 31, 2016 at 2:29 AM

    Rafa is doing a fantastic job of clearing out the deadwood. Rivierre, Thauvin, DeJong, Bigi, Obertan, Marveax, Saivet, Cisse, STaylor….gone. Sammy, Vuckic and Curtis Good still in limbo….surprised Harris Vuckic not traded or loaned to Rangers after prior success on loan there…

  • 40 Jib // Aug 31, 2016 at 6:54 AM

  • 41 The overrated Frenchman // Aug 31, 2016 at 6:58 AM

    bettyswallocks@16 – when people start posting just to react to my comments and opinions, rather than to discuss more pertinent matters, it’s not a productive thing for the blog. I don’t want to be part of a personality war which is is just a bore and a waste of time for everyone else. Sometimes you have to know when to shut up and keep your opinions to yourself which is what I’ve chosen to do. I don’t think that’s running away from criticism, just being practical.

  • 42 Jib // Aug 31, 2016 at 7:05 AM

    Christian Atsu with Saif Rubie and a representative of First 11 agency

  • 43 hibbit // Aug 31, 2016 at 7:16 AM

    is that it are we done or can we expect anymore ????

  • 44 Jib // Aug 31, 2016 at 7:17 AM

    Panathanaikos’ Mehdi Abeid is going to join either Nantes or Dijon.

    The reason I mention it is because Abeid wants to leave Greece because he’s on “only” €400,000 pa.

    I know Greece has economic problems , but if Olympiacos offer Tioté that kind of money , he’ll pick a Russian club for sure.

  • 45 expatmag // Aug 31, 2016 at 7:18 AM

    If Sissoko stays, we are done.

    If not, probably expect a kate push for McManaman

  • 46 Jib // Aug 31, 2016 at 7:25 AM


    GK Sels Darlow Elliot Woodman
    RB Yedlin Gamez Anita
    LB Lazaar Dummett Haidara
    CD Lascelles Mbemba Hanley Clark
    DM Hayden Colback McManaman
    MF Shelvey Ritchie Diamé Atsu Gouffran
    FWD Perez Gayle Murphy Mitrovic

    That’s it thus far.
    Will he stay?
    Will he go ?

  • 47 Jib // Aug 31, 2016 at 7:26 AM

    It’s McManaman or Sissoko methinks.

  • 48 Jib // Aug 31, 2016 at 7:29 AM

    “First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure”

    Mark Twain


  • 49 cyprus // Aug 31, 2016 at 7:32 AM

    Expect a Kate Bush eh. Would love that 🙂

    If we signed Bolt I’d be thrilled. Probably fast enough 🙂 and has the basic skills down. I’d bet any money he’d be an instant success. And the publicity. That would take care of his best salary and more…

  • 50 cyprus // Aug 31, 2016 at 7:33 AM

    Best salary?!

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