Rafa Benitez is a teetotaler – doesn’t drink alcohol – and has been talking today about what he talks about when he sees the managers after the games in the Championship and he admits they ask him about his time at Real Madrid.
Rafa was Real’s manager last season from June through early January when his three year contract at his home town club was terminated.
In fact to be exact he was fired on January 4th and the word put out at the time was that he was fired because of a number of things – allegations of unpopularity with supporters, displeasure with players and a failure to get good results against top sides.
Rafa Benitez and Chris Hughton this season
However the stories usually come from what the President wants the stories to be – and most of those originated with Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, who used to attend training sessions to keep an eye on things.
At away games when possible Rafa spends time with the Championship managers and he says he did have some time to talk to Chris Hughton after our 2-0 home win over Brighton.
This is what Benitez said when asked if he had a drink with the Championship managers:
“I have spent time with some of them after games.” “Normally when you go away, you do that if you have time which is not always the case.”
“Chris Hughton was here at St James’ Park and we were talking.” “It’s fine and I enjoy it.”
“You share information and then you talk about this player or that, or what happened in Madrid.”
“They think what they have heard is true, but it is not true.”
We have been very surprised – on the upside – at how well Rafa treats the players and the close relationship he has with them.
Only yesterday Andros Townsend came out with how “fantastic” Rafa had been with him when he was at the club last season.
When Benitez was at Liverpool there were stories about how he never praised players like Steven Gerrard for example, after he had a good game.
Rafa is hard to please because he’s a perfectionist, so if we won 6-1 he would talk about how we could have defended their goal a lot better.
And maybe he’s mellowed with age and experience and we’re sure he wants to become a better manager as time goes on – just like he wants Newcastle United to become a better team as time goes on.
One thing’s for sure – he’s got our 100% backing – he’s been unbelievable for Newcastle over a very short seven months at the club.