When Newcastle lost to Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates 1-0 on December 17 that was our fourth defeat in a row, and we had collected just one point in the previous nine games.
That’s after we had 14 points from the first 9 games and been 6th top of the league on October 21 after beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at home.
But Rafa was confident the lads had been unlucky in London and was telling us the team was learning and we would soon start winning games again.
If he was a normal manager, Rafa would have been in danger of being fired, and at that time we had only 15 points from 18 games played.
But there was none of that at Newcastle – we’re not daft.
And Rafa has since proved he is an extraordinary manager and in our last 15 Premier League games, we have won almost half of them with 7 wins – including home wins against Manchester United and Arsenal.
Rafa Benitez – unlikely to want to leave Newcastle now
In the last 15 league games, we have been defeated only three times against Manchester City (twice) and at Liverpool and have amassed a total of 26 points.
Over a full season that would be worth 62 points and 7th place last season.
Rafa will know he’s only a few players short (maybe three or four?) of having a much-improved team for next season and will hope (demand?) he gets sufficient money from Mike Ashley to spend this summer.
But even when he’s not been supported by the owner, the team has improved significantly this season with his coaching, and it will be a good foundation on which to build.
Not a bad performance for a club who spent £20M net over last summer’s transfer window.
Rafa said earlier this year he has not enjoyed this season, but his work on the training pitch is now there for all to see.
He may even persevere with Ashley at Newcastle because he knows the players, the fans and the City of Newcastle are right behind him.
And MIke Ashley could even be gone come September with any luck.
We would be surprised if (the great) Rafa Benitez leaves Newcastle this summer – even if Ashley stays.
What do you think?