Benitez On Technology He Uses To Manage Newcastle

Rafa Benitez is a very good manager, but he also uses the latest software technology to help him identify areas of the team that need to be improved.

Rafa makes notes during each game and it’s this information he enters into the software programs he uses that allow him to better understand how Newcastle are performing in each game.


Rafa Benitez – Newcastle manager

And for that matter with information he also gets from technology used in games he can tell how each player is performing and have performed in each game.

This information from the software helps Rafa to know what areas of play he should be concentrating on during training sessions after games – and even the training sessions before we meet specific opponents.

This is what Rafa has said today about the technology he uses:

“We have a lot of information and we try to manage this information to put the strongest team on the pitch. We’re not improvising,”

“We also have our software – after every game you will see me taking notes, well it goes into the software.”

“It’s about the strengths and weaknesses of the team in those games and we can return to it after 10 games and revisit it. We start working on that.”

“After maybe ten games he will say ‘We need to improve the counter attack’ so we put on more sessions on that. But we don’t change after every game, we work in the longer term.”

“The idea is that little-by-little we are improving things as we go along.” Of course, the system, like any, is not without faults.” “Maybe I’ll make a mistake, but we’ll only know after the game.”

And with artificial intelligence (AI) making great gains over the last five years – more progress has been made since 2011 than in the 50 years before that in this field – we wonder what things will be like in say 10 years down the road.

Maybe managers will be hiring IBM’s Watson computer to help them win games by then?

There was an excellent 60 minutes piece on IBM, Watson and Artificial Intelligence on Sunday night.

Here it is if you can watch it in your part of the world – it’s fascinating – wonder if Rafa has seen it?

Comments welcome.

6 comments so far

  • cyprus

    Oct 11, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #1


    If you are reading. This is what I meant regarding more science needed. Of course, what Rafa is saying and doing is a step forward but I expect science, technology, programming, breaking the game into segments and strategising to become much more central to the game in the future. ie. more bespectacled number crunchers and PhD’s on staff.

    Will all this ruin the game. I don’t think so. Of course, it will probably render the the improvised, individual genius a rarity and that is a shame.

  • Bobbybee

    Oct 11, 2016 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #2

    Missed the bus mid-sentence this time. That takes some doing. I was going to say and never to be caught again. 🙂

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Oct 11, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #3

    Hoping they have used this international break to see where we need to improve after our first 10 games some areas for improvement for me are:

    Having an attacking threat down the left wing our attacks are mostly on the right hand side which makes it congested as Gouffran comes inside on the left and gives no room to the likes of Diame to strut his stuff

    Find a proper position for Diame or use someone else in the no 10 or play with a 2nd striker!

    Attack and press teams straight from kick off at St James’s park sometimes having 2 holding midfielders and feeling our way into a game gives the opposition encouragement!

    Be a bit more direct sometimes we take ages just passing it about which allows teams to regroup!

    Improve our finishing!! Especially from our midfielders who get plenty of chances !

    Lots of positives to our play as well I will add our right hand side attacks are very fluid ! We fight for the ball and you can see that we are well drilled which is nice to see a Newcastle team who know what they are doing for a change!!

  • AncientC

    Oct 11, 2016 at 1:38 PM

    Comment #4

    Interesting article by Ed. I wonder if he has seen Kurzweil’s (head of the Google AI lab) predictions for the next decade, and onward.

    In theory, the technological singularity would mean an end to managers. (Where would the fun in that be)

  • Bobbybee

    Oct 11, 2016 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #5

    Lee, you sum it up very well in your last few words – nice to see a Newcastle team that knows what it’s doing for a change. Don’t we just? Especially at the back. 🙂 Isn’t it nice not to have a heart attack every time the opposition pushes forward?

  • cyprus

    Oct 11, 2016 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #6

    Of course, having said the above, players, especially, must sometimes improvise, Rafa, as the opposition has also planned and sussed you out. Improvisation can surprise everyone, even the guy who’s doing it. Google Ibrahimovic and improvisation and you’ll see many ‘hits’.

    Here are some tips on improvisation, as applied to football.

    Learn how to best respond to a situation (open space, man marking, left footer, etc. etc) as it happens to you. Don’t panic.

    Look for ways to make the best out of every moment.
    Just be available for the ball and do the next best possible step your mind can think of. Don’t hide even if it isn’t working.

    Try everything. You still don’t know what works and what doesn’t. (best do this in practice!)

    Be alert and seize every opportunity. It will come.

    Of course, as impro comedians will tell you, improvising (winging it) alone can lead to disaster. Best have a script 🙂


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