Rafa Benitez first game in charge of Newcastle was at Leicester City on Monday, March 14, 2016, and we lost 1-0 in what was a close game with the eventual Premier League Champions od that season.
Rafa goes back there again and a lot of water has flowed under the Tyne Bridge since then.
We were relegated that season, promoted last season in first place in the Championship and are now in a decent 12th place in the Premier League.
Rafa Benitez arriving to sign on Friday 11th March 2016
Dare we say it – it looks like we will be safe this season but Rafa wants at least another 5 points.
Rafa yesterday during his many interviews reflected back to that time just over two years ago and his first game in charge at Leicester City:
“That time, I was just thinking about winning the game to save the team.””You were not thinking about too far ahead.”
“The way things are going now, they change so quickly, you cannot afford to be thinking too much about the future.”
“At that time I was just concentrating on ‘do I have a left-back?’ and finding the right players for the right positions for those eight games.”
“We had a lot of players and needed to know the mentality, playing difficult games. That was more important than thinking would I be here or not.”
“When I came, I did not have too much time so my first impression was that they needed some help.”
“I could help and then they were quite positive.”
“We tried to do things in a way we wanted to do things. But we had I think 13 players injured so we did not have a left-back or holding midfielder.”
“So I had to play Vurnon Anita or Jack Colback as a left-back.”
“We had too many problems, even Rob Elliot, who was starting to do well, got injured with Ireland so we had to play Karl Darlow at Norwich.”
“So it was quite difficult at the beginning.”
“You needed to know not just what your players could do on the pitch, but also the character in difficult circumstances.”
“Every year as a manager, if you try to learn you will improve,” “Every day, you have to learn, watching other managers and matches.”
“Still you make mistakes or wrong decisions but if you try to learn, it means you will make less mistakes.”
I just love the attitude Rafa has – he’s always trying to improve himself along with his players and he never gets too big for his boots.
We have a great manager leading the club at the moment – hopefully he will stay on Tyneside for many years to come.
Howay The Lads!!