Michael Owen has been talking in the Mirror on just how tactically brilliant Rafa Benitez can be.
Liverpool were playing Rafa Benitez’ Valencia some years ago and he talks about how there was so little space for the Liverpool players – so good was Rafa’s game plan.
And he thinks Rafa will soon have Newcastle playing that well, which has to bode well for the future.
Michael Owen – now a pundit
This is some of what Michael has said in the Mirror starting with that game against Valencia:
“We were looking at each other and saying, ‘Did you see what I saw?’”
“Every time you got the ball you could not see a hole in their defense. I could not even get the ball to my feet, even if Stevie Gerrard had it.”
“They had only four across midfield. Their positional play was so good it felt that you couldn’t string two passes together. He had them that well-drilled – and he has Newcastle drilled, too.”
“We all know his capabilities and I think he is actually getting the best out of what he has got at Newcastle.”
“Rafa is a master tactician. I played under him for only a month or so before moving to Real Madrid in August 2004, when he first joined Liverpool.”
“Subsequently, I spoke to Jamie Carragher and Stevie G and people like that afterwards.”
“He sort of plays the game for you, in a way. By that, I mean he is always on the sidelines telling you where to go, pushing you here, pulling you there.”
“He wants to dictate and spot things and try to solve problems.”
“If you are a creative player, you like to be given a free rein, but he comes into his own when working with defenders, midfielders, and positional play.”
Rafa already has Newcastle playing well but we need say four top-class players brought in to really start attacking the top six in the Premier League.
And that will cost some real money.
Not many of our fans think we can win at Manchester United tomorrow.