Alan Pardew is a big fan of Rafa Benitez – basically because he knows how good Rafa is and that he’s a world-class manager.
You could see the friendship between the two managers last year when they met when Rafa had joined Newcastle, and Alan was the manager of Crystal Palace in a game we won 1-0 at St. James’ Park.
Alan is now working for Sky Sports, and he’s been quite complimentary to Newcastle so far and was impressed with our performance at Swansea on Sunday afternoon.
Alan is between jobs because Alan still wants to be on the front line and become a manager again – which is unlike some former managers and players who settle in as pundits.
Alan Pardew – Sky Sports pundit
This is what Alan said about Newcastle’s display on Sunday:
“Rafa will have been very, very happy – it was a really good, sound performance, and I can’t think of one Newcastle player who didn’t play well,”
“I thought Newcastle were very good. If you take into account the early pressure Swansea had, they let them come through the middle but didn’t give them any kind of space in there, nice and compact.”
“Then Newcastle started to create more and more threats as that half went on. The second half was almost a carbon copy, then they got the goal.”
“You have to say that as an away-game blueprint, that was as good as it gets.”
And Alan surprisingly thought that Matt Ritchie’s challenge on Mawson when Matt caught the Swansea defender on the arm was worse than Sadio Mane’s dismissal for a similar challenge the day before.
The Liverpool forward caught Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson on his face with his boot and received a red card for that challenge whereas Matt received only a yellow.
This is what Pardew said about that incident:
“I actually think that Ritchie’s is worse than Sadio Mane’s – his standing leg is off the floor.”
The thing we like about Alan being a pundit is that at least he’s done the job as a front-line manager for 17 years – and it’s not an easy job by any means.
And as we know Alan has had his challenges as a manager at both Newcastle and at Crystal Palace.
Alan’s views were even shared by Swansea boss Paul Clement who after the game confessed that Newcastle were better in every aspect of the game than the Swans and he was unhappy with his own side’s performance.
Some real class and honesty there from the Swansea manager.
The good news today is that Rafa Benitez is now back in Newcastle and working to prepare the team for our home game with Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.
It will not be an easy game, but it’s a match we can win to make it three wins on the trot.