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Insights Into How Rafa Benitez Brilliantly Manages His Players

Rob Elliot has given an insightful perceptive interview in the local papers, which illustrates just why players will run through a brick wall for the Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.

Not only is Rafa mad keen on everything to do with football, but he is an excellent man-manager who knows how the players think and gives them massive support, especially when they are going through tough times.

Nobody can say Rob Elliot hasn’t had a very tough year, after picking up his serious ACL knee injury playing for the Republic of Ireland a year last March.

31 year-old Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot

Rafa brought back Rob Elliot to the first team line-up for the last three games of last season – a masterstroke and games that we won and gained a massive 8 points on Brighton to dramatically win the Championship.

This is how Rob Elliot has explained Rafa’s interactions with him over the last year or so and why the Newcastle manager is so very good at what he does:

“I spoke to him in the summer and had my operations.” He’s shown faith in me and looked after me by doing that.”

“We sat down and we talked. He said ‘is everything OK with you?’.”  “Obviously, my contract was coming up. All I said to him was that my contract probably needed looking at.”

“I was very unsure of my future before that, and before I started playing in the previous season.”

“He was ‘OK, I’ll speak to Lee Charnley.” “A week later he said ‘we’ll have a meeting, and your contract will get sorted’.”

“I ended up signing a new deal in the summer. “I never really had to go and see him.”

“He’d only been my manager for two games when I was fit and gave me a new contract while I was injured, was enough to me.”

“I don’t think I needed to knock on his door and ask what he thought of me or what my position was.”

“You knuckle down and wait for your opportunity and he gave me that in the Preston game.”

“The Preston game was massive,” “I didn’t expect to play. The manager told me on Sunday morning as I went out to training.”

“He casually came up to me – we usually say hello in the morning – and said ‘I’m going to play you tomorrow’.”

“It didn’t really sink in properly.” “While it’s been brilliant watching the club and the lads do so well, it’s been tough personally.”

“You work for six or seven months to get back fit after a horrible injury at the worst possible time, and then Karl was playing brilliantly.”

“You have to sit there and keep plugging away.”  “It’s just great when you get your opportunity that you can help in some way. It’s just nice to contribute something.”

“The lads have put the effort in and have gone through the pain barrier. To contribute a little bit makes you part of that group.”

Rafa will also have had a quiet word with Karl Darlow about why he was bringing Rob back.

And we didn’t see Karl go in the huff or anything like that – he was just delighted he played a major role in getting Newcastle promoted last season and back in the big time – the Premier League.

Comments welcome.

68 comments so far

  • Markaccus

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #1

    Is there any truth in that Jay Rodriguez thing that popped up yesterday? He’d be a canny player for us if he can stay fit.

  • martoon

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #2

    That’s all very well but how must they feel hearing the rumours about Pepe Reina etc.

  • nut meg

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #3

    I went to see Laurie McMenemy at a talk in many years ago and one thing he said has always stuck in my mind.The talk got around to signing players and he said what he would do if he was our manager. He would either phone the player up or have a meeting with him and simply tell him that he wants to sign him up,if he hesitates then he’s not the player you want at Newcastle United Football Club.I feel that way now about Abrahams,time to move on.

  • Mag52

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #4

    . Martoon.

    Probably the same as they felt about Selz at the start of last season, but Darlow saw him off, and I’m sure that he and Elliott will be confident enough to meet the challenge of a new GK, whoever that may be.

  • nightfa11

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #5

    Anyone knows what happened to Bakambu rumors? Was really hoping he’d be our primary striker target..

  • martoon

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #6

    Mag52 – At the start of last season both Elliot and Krul were injured so it was understandable bringing in another keeper. This season they are all fit so is Rafa not saying “I don’t think either of you are good enough to be the No 1 keeper for NUFC”?

  • nightfa11

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #7

    Still needed :

    Gk: hoping for reina
    Dc: lejeuene + smalling /abdennour /mangala
    Cm: leiva + torino guy + abi

  • nightfa11

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #8


    + another creative m
    St: Bakambu + Porto guy
    Lm: no idea

  • nightfa11

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #9

    Oh and a lb: hoping for jetro

    That’s a long list

  • beermonkey

    Jun 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #10


    do you want all of them

  • jazzyp

    Jun 20, 2017 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #11

    Anyone know anything about this Aboubaker guy ??

  • beermonkey

    Jun 20, 2017 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #12


    you could use the denis wise scouting system
    its open to all

  • nut meg

    Jun 20, 2017 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #13
  • corkypants

    Jun 20, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #14


    He is a beast, he was linked to real and barca a couple of years ago plus maybe arsenal aswell but was priced at crazy money by Porto. I’m not sure what’s happened since then but I really hope we get this guy in. Similar style to lukaku!

  • Bianconeri

    Jun 20, 2017 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #15

    He’s got shoulders like a hod carrier.Rather we got him than that Tammy Wynette, well he keeps singing a different song

  • AncientC

    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #16

    Interesting stuff from Afriyie Acquah http://www.themag.co.uk/2017/06/afriyie-acquah-contradicts-latest-comments-move-newcastle-united/

    The guy seems like he has more than a few wires crossed on his motherboard.
    I got a bad impression from him from the get-go. All that media nonsense with his wife, and his disciplinary record etc.

    I cannot understand all the hatred getting thrown Abraham’s way, he is a young guy with a decision to make that could make or break his career before it’s got started. Is Newcastle going to look after Abraham for the rest of his career, if he signs & gets no game time – hardly so. Should Abraham’s agent be gauging the social media of clubs he is a prospect to sign for, Abraham will already be in the process of being warned away from Newcastle with fans on his back before he has even signed. No less the grief that Mitrovic gets could be a factor… and there is nothing to state at this juncture that Abraham would be any better/or ahead of Mitrovic in the side. There is no need to feel insulted that Abraham, for whatever reason, isn’t signed yet.

  • martoon

    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #17

    Bianconeri – The question is will Rafa stand by his man? 😀

  • martoon

    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #18

    AncientC – Re Abraham – Most accept he has a decision to make – it is the signing on fee and wages that he expects which is turning people against him!

  • toontaff2

    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #19

    Well, if Tammy Winnet’s agent is reading this BLOG – on behalf of many Toon fans, I’d like to tell you to **** off, you mercenary! 👿

  • AncientC

    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #20

    martoon, covering Abraham’s wages should be a given, unless he is some useless player that the parent club wants rid of. The loan fee story is coming from tabloids, who knows if that is even true. If Abraham has an agent that can get more money for him, essentially he is doing a good job. Football is a cut-throat world. Clubs look out for themselves, and so do players. There will not be many players on the books at Newcastle that didn’t haggle for an extra million signing on fee, if they could get it.

  • Oldgit1

    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #21

    @ AncientC everybody have a right to their opinuim, mine is that this deal shows how greedy agents and players are. He is not a proven PL player, he will not show any loyality to NUFC as he is not stopping.
    He will cost us 50k a week, money should go to the signing of young players who are willing to commit.
    Is he that good? I would say no. He may do under the guidance of Rafa but not for Chelsea to benifit.
    To have a season under a world class manager he should walk all the way to the north east and pay for the Privelage.

  • hibbit

    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #22


    100% correct

  • AncientC

    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #23

    I remember people complaining in the same fashion about signing Loic Remy on loan… not worth the wages, turned the club down etc. That one didn’t turn out too badly.

    Hopefully the club will not be in a relegation scrap this coming season, but it is more than possible, and the margins can be as fine as 1 player being the difference between survival and relegation.

  • RUNAWAY777

    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #24

    Rumours rumours half the week over and know signings in sight anybody will to bet we will sign a player before the end of the week

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #25

    From what I have seen of Abraham, I don’t think he’s an improvement on what we already have.

    He has poor ball control and for such a tall man doesn’t have a good heading ability, I would say pass on this one Rafa.

  • lesh

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #26

    The Chronic’s reporting Acqua’s totally committed to his current club.


    He couldn’t be fishing for a big signing on fee……. Nash, it doesn’t work like that.

  • martoon

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #27

    AncientC – If Abraham was a proven Premier League striker then everything you say is valid but for an under 21 year old who has never played in the Premiership – come off it!

  • SuperShearer

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:23 PM

    Comment #28

    Looking at Youtube footage of Aboubakar, he is a quintessential Rafa style forward. Happy to run the channels, scores goals from various range, good jump on him, happy creating opportunity and bringing other players into play. If he is half as good as he looks online (and that’s a MASSIVE IF) then he is a perfect player to lead the line in a Rafa system. Gayle backing him up and Mitro as a Plan B if we need a big man to act as a target.

  • jazzyp

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #29


    Remy was worth the risk and there was a chance of him coming at the end of the season.
    We all knew what we were getting with Remy and we desperately needed his goals.
    Tammy on the other hand is unproven. Will not be an automatic starter… no more than 3rd choice probably. And to demand that signing on fee and wages for a young kid who doesn’t give a crap about the club.
    No thanks spend the money more wisely on some young talent who can prosper and gives a F@ck about the club

  • AncientC

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #30

    “AncientC – If Abraham was a proven Premier League striker then everything you say is valid but for an under 21 year old who has never played in the Premiership – come off it!”

    martoon, you do know how much a “proven Premier League striker” costs these days, don’t you?

    Even the cheaper options, i.e. high scoring Championship strikers, are worth more now than 3 years ago.

    How about you “come off it!”, and wake up to reality. Squabbling over a £1 million signing on fee, that may not even be true.

  • Ben Afri

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #31

    Just read that after saying that a move to England is 90% complete, friyie Acquah now tweeted that his statement was misinterpreted and that a link to a move to NUFC is false hand thst he is 100% committed to his club.

    Some misleading, but goes to show that nobody knows what’s going on and we’ll just have to wait and see.

    Hopefully Aboubakar is a genuine signing though. He looks good and at least he’ll be ours, unlike Tammy.

  • AncientC

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #32

    jazzyp, which is why Remy cost more than Abraham would… and given for inflation, would cost a hell of a lot more at today’s rates.

    Of course Abraham is a bit of a risk, which is why he is available on loan for basic wages and a measly £1 million, if that.

  • AncientC

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:38 PM

    Comment #33

    martoon, let us know when you have found a “proven Premier League striker” for £50k a week, and a £1 million signing on fee.

  • nightfa11

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #34


    Not all.. Only 10 players 🙂

    Gk (reina cos he’s quality and everyone praises his mentality)
    2 center backs (cos lescalles and Clark might get scared playing against top attackers)
    1lb (dummet)
    1 dmc (Hayden not ready)
    1 cm (when Shelvey got injured we were poor)
    1amc (we need speed and creativity in midfield)
    1 lw (cos we don’t have anyone there)
    2 strikers (mitro not rated by rafa)

  • Oldgit1

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #35

    I would say that AcientC has lost his argument, and resorting to reposting his own comments. No one has said use his money to sign a proven premier league player, we could sign 2-3 young and upcoming strikers who would benifit by being coached by Rafa.

  • martoon

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #36

    AncientC – OK so “Proven Premiership Striker was not the right phrase what I meant was somebody who is not a completely untried under 21 year old. Also I thought with loans you paid a loan fee to the club and the player wages – I’ve never heard of the player getting a signing on fee as well just for a loan!

  • AncientC

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #37

    Oldgit1, huh? reposting my own comments… when and where did I do that?

    Do you mean when I pasted martoon’s comment, to add context to my reply. Yes, that is what you call losing an argument?

    Getting a little lost, are we.

  • AncientC

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #38

    martoon, Abraham is not completely untried, he destroyed the championship, a little similar to how Dwight Gayle did… and Gayle is probably valued as high as £20 million by some. Abraham did it in a much weaker side.

    I am not sure where jazzyp is coming from, stating we had a chance of signing Remy. We have the same chance of keeping Abraham, as we do Remy.

    I will repeat this… it may not be true that Abraham is demanding a £1 million signing on fee.

    Why don’t you give the kid a chance before reading the Daily Mail and writing him and his family off as money-grubbers. Either way, £1 million signing on fee for a player that scored 20+ goals in the championship, is not what I would call absurd demands.

  • AncientC

    Jun 20, 2017 at 1:00 PM

    Comment #39

    *as we did Remy* that should be

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Jun 20, 2017 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #40

    I for one am not against Abraham for his posturing and attitude, I’m just not convinced he’s as good as he thinks he is.

    If we are going to have development players then lets make sure we can have them long term, I’d rather see Armsrong, Heardman and (lets not forget about him) Toney get the chance to progress.


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