Top Managers Compliment Rafa Benitez And Newcastle

Former Leicester and Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri knows Rafa Benitez very well and that was obvious before Rafa’s debut as the Newcastle manager last year at the King Power stadium on Monday, 14th March when Rafa lost his first game in charge of the Magpies 1-0 – but it was a close game.

Two former Premier league managers Ranieri and former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka were on Sky Sports Goals on Sunday yesterday and because Newcastle are now back in the Premier League, we  are now being discussed again by the pundits and former managers.

So that’s good – back from the wilderness of the Championship where very few matches were televised live and you become a forgotten football club with all eyes on the Premier League.

Claudio Ranieri and Rafa Benitez before last year’s game at the King Power Stadium

65 year-old Claudio believes Newcastle will do well next season and finish somewhere in the top half of the Premier League table under the famous Spanish manager.

This is what Claudio Ranieri has said about Rafa’s Newcastle team:

“I was surprised he stayed, but he believed they would be promoted;.” “He now knows that everyone is behind him and I think he can do a very good job next season.”

“Newcastle can be between the middle and high positions. They have fantastic fans and I think he can achieve this.”

Former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka was also on the same show yesterday and he has this to say about Newcastle:

“It’s not easy but Newcastle is a team that were in the Premier League two years ago and in the past, and they have a great history.” 

“They also have a lot of responsibility because they are the only team in the North East, so they are alone and they know how important football is in that area.”

“So I hope they do well.”

Newcastle under Rafa Benitez did what was expected last season and we were promoted in an automatic promotion spot as Champions with 94 points from the 46 games, but it wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be.

Rafa did really well for a league he literally knew nothing about at the end of last season.

But by his own admission Rafa is now a better manager having had to deal with multiple different formations of the Championship clubs.

Rafa seems to welcome any challenge in a football match whether it’s the Red Devils at Old Trafford or at the New York Stadium at Burton Albion and he approaches the games in a similar way – he just wants to win it.


That says a lot about his professionalism and his humility too – there are not many world-class managers who would manage in England’s second division, so Rafa deserves tremendous credit for sticking with Newcastle last May.

He’s some guy alright!

We’d be surprised if Claudio Ranieri  isn’t spot on and we finish somewhere in the top ten.

Remember that we have only finished in the top nine in the Premier League under Mike Ashley once, when we were 5th in 2012 – so finishing in the top nine would be really good in our first season back in the big time.

We’d also earn about £127M from the Premier League if we do manage to finish in 8th place which is what the 8th placed team will receive this season in the first year of the new £5.1B Premier League TV rights deal.

That’s a lot of money and a lot more than the £47M – in fact £80M more –  we will receive this month, with  £7.1M from the Championship and our £40M parachute payment from the Premier League.

What do you think about this?

Comments welcome.

8 comments so far

  • JP...from The Rock

    May 22, 2017 at 3:06 PM

    Comment #1

    We should have such high expectations in our first season back with the big boys. We need to be realistic. That being said we do have a slight chance of nicking a top 10 spot but I’d be more than happy with a 14th place spot. Then the following season we can build from that and sign quality to take us to top 10 and beyond. Slowly but surely.

  • JP...from The Rock

    May 22, 2017 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #2

    *we shouldn’t have high expectaions…

  • JP...from The Rock

    May 22, 2017 at 3:09 PM

    Comment #3

    Btw like the new Blog design Ed. Maybe a different photo from the article photo could be used when you scroll down so don’t have to see the same photo twice every time. Other than that it looks nice.

  • firebug666

    May 22, 2017 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #4

    Why shouldn’t we have high expectations? We all love our club, and want it to be the best it can be, it’s not unrealistic to want to win a cup, (any team on it’s day could do that), neither is it unrealistic to want to finish in the top half of the table.

    Other teams have done it and we have come close to winning it a couple of times under KK. So with the right manager, staff, players and a little bit of luck thrown in why not.

    I recon under Rafa, and depending on signings, we should be looking around the 12th to 8th spot finish, but with a bit of luck maybe we could end up higher.

    I don’t think that is unrealistic, I think that should be the goal for this season.

  • barkel

    May 22, 2017 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #5

    Going by the final league table this season 46pts got 8th, 40pts got 17th. I don’t see why we can’t be aiming for the higher end of the table. The season we went down we finished on 37pts. Should we not think that with a better manager for the entire season we could get a few more wins?

  • jimmysmith

    May 22, 2017 at 9:05 PM

    Comment #6

    I really hope we are looking primarily or even entirely outside the EPL. Batshuayi would have been a good buy for us 3 years ago, but surely not now. The Ashley model has some merit. It has needed to be adjusted undoubtedly, but lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Over the years Carr has recommended some beauties from foreign leagues who have been either about to pop or coming to the end of their contracts. It has just needed as Rafa type to run the final rule over them and that little extra spend. The focus surely should be on the best of the Championship, young players from the senior clubs who are looking for regular football, trawling foreign leagues and lower leagues and trying to bring on the kids.

  • jimmysmith

    May 22, 2017 at 9:26 PM

    Comment #7

    The squad that went down would have stayed up comfortably under Rafa and probably would have done well enough to challenge Everton for seventh in my opinion. It lacked a bit of depth and balance and the players heads weren’t quite right, but there was genuine quality there and Rafa would have almost certainly brought them together and got them firing as a confident committed unit.

  • jimmysmith

    May 22, 2017 at 9:56 PM

    Comment #8

    First season back I expect top ten and a season of consolidation. We haven’t quite lost 70 million quid because of the drop, but for sure over 50 I’d say. It’s tough to bounce straight back from that, and may take two or three seasons for us to fully recover. But that eventual full recovery should see us overtake Everton as the 7th biggest and best performing club in England and back in Europe.


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