Rafa Benitez has said the English Championship is the toughest football league in the world because of the schedule of games – 46 games with 24 teams in the league – and the standard of competition is high and it seems that every team can give any other team in the league a good game.
They say that about the Premier League too, but we have proved this season that teams like Burton, Rotherham, Blackburn, Bristol City and others have played so well against us and made it very difficult.
In fact after the very tough game at Norwich on Tuesday night ended in a 2-2 draw, the Canaries then lost at Burton Albion 2-1.
Rafa Benitez at Norwich City
So we are starting to believe Rafa is right – it’s not the best in the world – but it’s the toughest and when you get to the end of the season you have been through some obstacle course with all the emotional highs and lows.
I’m already exhausted.
This is what Rafa has said in the Chronicle:
“Some people think if you spend money you have to be up there, but football isn’t one plus one equals two.” “Normally what you have is a lot of teams up there.”
“You can also see in the Premier League now – a lot of teams have spent money but you only have one or two teams up there.” “The others can’t do it.”
“For me Aston Villa are proof of how difficult the Championship is.”
“You see teams going down from the Premier League and they can’t get up the year after.” “That means the competition is very difficult.”
“If you analyse carefully why, you will see that it’s easier for a team that challenged in the top six in the Championship than it is for a team coming down.”
“Why? Because normally if you go down it’s because something is wrong and you have to change things.”
“You can change half of the squad and bring in new players who settle down.” “It’s different if you have already been there.”
“Look at Brighton for example, they have spent money in the last two or three years.”
“They are up there and they just need to add two or three players each year and they’ll be stronger in the division.”
“When you go down you have to change half the squad, you need to settle down and you need time for new staff and new people.”
“I can understand why it’s so difficult for them to do what everybody expects them to do.” “From our position we have also spent money and are doing well.”
“It is difficult to stay up there and be consistent to stay at the top of the table.” “It will be a tough game for us.”
“They have a good team and have very good players, it will be a tough competition for all of that.”
Rafa Benitez is very smart and there’s a good overview of why the Championship really is tough for teams – including Newcastle – it’s been no joy ride this season and we’ve had our disappointments and enough defeats already.
But we can still make our goal of promotion and right now – that’s the only thing that matters.
Next up – we have to somehow beat Aston Villa tomorrow night – come hell or high water – or anything else for that matter. 🙂
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