Newcastle have done as well as we could have expected at this point of the season and with after 16 games played we have 37 points and are top of the Championship 3 points clear of Chris Hughton’s Brighton side.
That’s 4 points ahead of the pace set by Chris Hughton seven years ago, when we finished top of the Championship on 102 points – 4 points short of the record set by Reading in the 2005-2006 season.
Rafa Benitez in training
But it wasn’t always plain sailing and the season started off with a mini-disaster when we lost our first two games at Fulham and at home to Huddersfield.
That meant after two games played we had lost half the games that Chris had lost in the whole 46 game season seven years ago.
But Rafa steadied the ship and we have won 15 of 17 games since those two defeats and we seem to be right on track.
This is some of what Rafa said during his interview late last week with SkyBet after he had won the Manager of the Month sward for October:
“The team is learning it is growing, because the results are good. At the beginning it was not nice.” “We felt we could do better,”
“We did not deserve to lose both our first two games, but we had to manage it. “We had to keep sending the same message to the players and eventually things improved.”
Losing those first two games level set everything and it could be looked on as even a good thing as Matt Ritchie pointed out at the time.
That’s because our players and fans knew we would have to fight for everything if we were to gain promotion this season.
And that’s what our players have done most of the time ever since – but now we must keep fighting – right until the very last game of the season.
And we know that’s true because that’s what Rafa says – and he knows everything.
Here’s the current standings.