What Di Matteo Thinks Of Benitez As A Manager

Roberto Di Matteo had his press conference yesterday for the game tomorrow with Newcastle at Villa Park –  and he said he wasn’t all that surprised that Rafa eventually decided to stay on at Newcastle even though  we were relegated.

It was a decision that shocked a lot of pundits including Alan Shearer, who kept telling everybody there was no way Rafa would stay and manage a second division club because he would get offers pouring into him for his services – he’s that good.


Roberto Di Matteo in training at Villa

But Rafa stayed – maybe because he thought the job wasn’t finished when he couldn’t save Newcastle from the drop, but he did a great job with 12 points in those last six games.

But the fans fell in love with Rafa and it seems one big reason he agreed to stay was there was an instant  rapport that built up between him and the passionate Geordie fans.

Rafa took over from Roberto when he was surprisingly fired by Chelsea in late 2012 after winning the Champions League with Chelsea in May of that year.

But from what Roberto says it seems both managers have great respect for each other.

This is some of what Roberto said yesterday, starting with Rafa deciding to stay on Tyneside:

“I think it was a natural evolution for him to stay.”

“He went in at the end of last season, and obviously understood what the task was – the players, the team and I think it suits him quite well to be at Newcastle. I wasn’t surprised.”

“In general there is a lot of respect between the managers.” “With Rafa it is the same.”

“He has obviously had an illustrious career, and he’s a very good manager.”

“They have probably started the season a little bit better.” 

“I think they are little bit more settled than us as a team. But it’s probably an even game. We have the home advantage.”

“They are a strong side, but it makes for a good game. It’s a big game for us and Newcastle. It should make it an exciting match.”

Roberto is a talented manager and it’s good to see him back in England and with a big club too.

He should do well as he gets time to get to grips with the Villa players he has, but hopefully not tomorrow.


Most Newcastle fans think we can win this game – which is another very important one – aren’t they all?

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20 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #1

    From previous, yes it was a line up thread but anyone naming a bingo team was naming it on any random thread. It’s only a bit of fun and would be good to see who got the most right at the end of the season. Unfortunately Belfast said last night that he had a correct line up which I ignored, this was immediately jumped on by the charming Jib who basically said the thing was a balls up. It will make life easier for me to check if everyone waits until Ed has posted his line thread then I can check when someone says he has a correct line up.

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #2

    In which case, I’ll repost mine jail, coz I posted mine a while back.

    Yedlin, Lascelles, Mbemba, Clark
    Colback Shelvey
    The Gouff Diame. Ritchie

    Must impress, this ain’t my first choice, but I’m trying to second guess an enigma – and it sure ain’t easy! 🙂

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    Comment #3

    Clark isn’t my first choice at LB, Dummet is but I’ve put him in trying to counteract the surprise, he could blow everyone away and give Tiote a first start. 😮

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #4

    I’ve just had an e mail off Ed and he has confirmed that there will be a line up thread before every game. As I said anyone wanting to play Rafa bingo, if you could post your line ups after Ed has posted his, it doesn’t have to be on the same thread as long as it’s after.

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #5

    I see the Mag has been stirring up old hatreds again, just before the game. Let’s be honest, nobody likes Villa, with their continuous harping back to an era 30/40 years ago, but I’m not sure this helps. For me, the game completely rebooted after the Premier League came in. Since then, we’ve had the better of it. Not won nowt, but more CL games Higher finishes, etc. As for ‘bigger club’? Well, which of us has had to close huge swathes of the ground? Not us. The facts speak for themselves imo and harping on about ‘Sob on the tyne’ is just pointless. Best thing is to go there and beat them, not engage in slagging contests, which prove nowt. They claim this is the biggest game in the Championship, with – wait for it – a crowd of 34k expected. Christ, we got more than that for the cup game ffs. The biggest game might be the return fixture, but this one ain’t it. Not by a long shot.

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #6

    Jail, i hope Clark plays, because he’s likely to score just to piss em off more. 🙂

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #7


    I thought Murphy played well – first time in a long time we had a old fashioned centre forward who led the line – unlucky not to score. Hope Mitrovich was watching might learn a thing or two on leading the line.

    Me – would start with Murphy – get out option when under the cosh.

    As far as I am concerned we cannot play/start with Gayle and Perez upfront.

    My team
    Darlow – miles better than Sels – commands his six yard box
    Lascalles, Mbemba/Clark
    Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Colback, Goufran

    Not looking forward to Tomorrow’s game
    If we play like we did last week we’ll get thumped – Villa are going to hurt someone.

    If we play like we did at QPR – then we can win it

    I’ll take a draw now and a win against Norwich

    To be honest I don’t know what to think of the TOON so far.

    One week – crap be lucky to finish in top half
    Next week – excellent – top two

    I still think we are struggling to play as a team – hence too much sideways, backwards slow slow football for me – Once we click – hopefully we do – then we will be hard to stop!!!

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #8

    Charlie, I’d start with both Darlow and Murphy in my side tbh, but like I say, the game is to second guess Rafa and that’s why I’ve gone with who I have. He seems to rate both Sels and Gayle higher than I do, which is why I’ve gone with them.

  • sing in the corner

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #9

    Yeah I agree. From the outside looking in Clark looks one he’s very appreciative of what he now has, seems to be really enjoying life here. And I get the feeling he’d be the type that’s galvanised by the boo boys from his former club.
    Cross / corner by Ritchie, bullet header top corner..

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #10

    That’s my thinking Charlie. 🙂

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #11

    Sorry! Sing, not Charlie. Getting confused easily today!

  • sing in the corner

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #12

    I’ll be a little disappointed if Rafa selects Sels for this one. Don’t think Rafa would ignore the continued evidence that Sels isn’t our best keeper at he moment. To me he looks like his confidence is low and would probably benefit from a spell on the bench. Won’t make a decision, stays put and hesitates..
    Could be a great keeper, we don’t know yet. But to be kind to him he is at least ‘out of form’ now.

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #13

    Sing, plus Clark had Kodjia in his pocket when we played Bristol, before his transfer to Villa. He’s their dangerman imo and we need to keep him quiet.


    Sep 23, 2016 at 1:00 PM

    Comment #14

    Started the season a little bit better? Uve won 1 game mate

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #15

    WWSBRD 🙂 Innit?

  • sing in the corner

    Sep 23, 2016 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #16

    Ah, good call. Didn’t see the Bristol game..
    Loving the Championship having readjusted to where we’re at. It’s all toon anyway and the games come thick n fast. Howay the lads!


    Sep 23, 2016 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #17

    Haha but come on a little bit better? Who is he trying to kid

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 1:14 PM

    Comment #18

    WWSBRD himself mate, and his deluded fans! 🙂

  • Bobbybee

    Sep 23, 2016 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #19

    Sing, it’s the games coming thick and fast that will prove Rafa to be right with his rotation system. By the time other clubs are struggling with injuries and fatigue, we’ll have a fitter squad and players used to slotting in where required. I understand why some are against it now, but the bigger picture is what really matters. The players are happy with it as well. They seem to be a squad fully united and have bought into the idea 100%. We’ve got two good elevens he can mix and match. And with Arma reminding them what he can bring to the team, it’s all bright and happy imo.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Sep 23, 2016 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #20

    I see that there were no comments on the Scott Sellars thread.

    So here’s my twopennorth.

    I maintain that it was his loss to injury that stopped us winning the EPL that season. It was just enough to upset the team balance.

    Another player in the Rob Lee who didn’t get all the credit he deserved. Much like Colback now.

    That’s it comment over.


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