In Rafa’s first four games in charge he didn’t do well as Newcastle manager and lost three and drew only one – a 1-1 at home to Sunderland to end a six game losing streak against the Black Cats.
The final defeat of last season was in Rafa’s 4th game in charge – that terrible loss at Southampton when we were beaten 3-1 at St. Mary’s but our players were pathetic, especially in that first half.
That’s when a number of Newcastle fans gave up the ghost, but Rafa turned it around and we got 12 points from the final six games with three wins and three draws but it wasn’t enough and we were still relegated.
Jamaal Lascelles at Southampton last season – what’s going on?
It’s one year on now from that disastrous display – not the first time we have looked hopeless at Southampton in recent years.
We saw how Rafa handled that and he dropped a number of stars for the next game including Gini Wijnaldum, who never bothered to turn up for away games for Newcastle last season.
Daryl Janmaat didn’t want to play in the second half so much at St. Mary’s that he broke his hand against the dressing room wall.
That was while a young Jamaal Lascelles was lecturing the senior players about them not being good enough to wear the shirt of Newcastle United.
Most weren’t as it turns out.
A lot has changed in a short 12 months and one is now our players will work their socks off for the team and are getting that winning attitude – winning games even when we don’t play well.
We have won 25 games in the 39 Championship games played so far.
This is what Rafa has said today about his current players:
“I think one important thing for our fans is to remember is that this team has commitment.” “These players are working so hard.”
“Sometimes they will get better or worse, but they will still give everything.”
“For Newcastle fans in the last year or so it is important to recognize that this is a group of players that give everything.”
“The fans are clever enough to realise they can make a difference.” “Even when the team is not doing well they have to be there to support.”
“There is a little bit of relief when you win games and everyone can enjoy.” “But now we just concentrate on the next one and things can hopefully be the same.”
“That means the people in the city will be happier.”
The people will be much happier as it turns out – those are good words from Rafa Benitez.