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New Southampton Manager Pays Homage To Rafa Benitez – The Master

The new Southampton manager 45 year-old Argentine Mauricio Pellegrino has a lot of thanks he gives to Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez, who he was an assistant coach to when Rafa was manager at both at Liverpool and Inter-Milan.

Mauricio played for Valencia as a center-back (he is 6ft 4ins tall) from 1999 through 2005, so he played for Rafa when the Spaniard  managed Valencia in the most successful period in their history.

They won La Liga t in 2001–2002 and then again in 2003–2004 and Rafa went on to win the UEFA Cup in season 2003–2004 – three huge trophies in a short three seasons – and then he joined Liverpool in 2004.

Pellegrino was also signed by Benitez for Liverpool in January of 2005 when Pellegrino was a free agent and signed a six-month contract, which was not extended.

Mauricio has been singing the praises of the current Newcastle manager in an interview he has given today in the Sun – he talks a lot about all the things he learned from Benitez:

“Rafa was one of the most important people I’ve ever worked with in football.” “I shared with him three wonderful years at Valencia as a player and got the opportunity to work with him for two years at Liverpool as a coach.”

“I was living one of the most important experiences — not just about football but of my life.”

“When Rafa came from Tenerife to Valencia, there were a lot of questions about whether he was the right manager for us.”

“But quickly, he convinced people with results.” “He was very good to me and made sure I did not dwell on negatives from the past and told me to concentrate on the future.”

“In the first year we won La Liga and then again in the third year. We also won the UEFA Cup.” “It was one of the most important moments in the club’s history.”

“He was brilliant at using psychological ­methods to maximize the potential of a player.” “That is the most important thing I learned from Rafa.”

“As a player, you always knew what you were doing every day.”

“He made things very clear in our minds.” “Rafa brought me to Liverpool to help the team defensively.”

“I knew his methods and he used me to help the players on the pitch — and that year we won the Champions League.”

“I couldn’t play in the final because I had played games already that season in the Champions League for Valencia.”

“But I did my best to help the team and it was an emotional time to win that final against Milan.”

“I was working in Valencia with young players, 15 years old, and when Rafa called me I had no doubt about the opportunity.”

“For me, it was like being with a master for two years and I learned a lot.”

So it looks like two special games for Rafa in the upcoming Premier League season will be with Liverpool and Southampton.

We usually get taken apart at St Mary’s Stadium, but we assume those days are dead and gone now …..

Rafa’s certainly got some reputation in football management and we are over the moon to have him as the Newcastle manager.

Note to Managing Director Lee Charnley – please sign four players for Rafa by a week tomorrow – we need to keep him happy.



Comments welcome.

10 comments so far

  • AncientC

    Jun 25, 2017 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #1

    switch365, are you privy to information? How do you know that the reports of Benitez being unhappy about transfers are untrue.

    Personally, I tend to believe what BamBams has reported earlier this morning.

    The club declined to comment… how difficult would it be to state the reports are unfounded and fictional?

  • Bobbybee

    Jun 25, 2017 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #2

    Seems to me that a lot of people have very little respect for Rafa, making him out to be some sort of baby who throws his toys out the pram every time he doesn’t get his own way. That’s not how I see him. He’ll fix it – if it’s even broken.
    Is this how it’s going to be every time somebody is unhappy with progress. ‘Rafa’s leaving’.
    We’ve been here before. In January and again at the end of the season. Seems some people want to turn it into a self fulfilling prophecy.
    Rafa has great respect for the fans. If he was unhappy he’d let us know. Until you hear it from Rafa, it ain’t real. Why would he leak it to the Daily bloody Mail?

  • hibbit

    Jun 25, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #3


    where’s that from that the club declined to comment ???

  • martoon

    Jun 25, 2017 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #4

    I dare say Rafa is unhappy at the lack of signings and maybe had a go at a few people but that doesn’t mean he is about to leave – just frustrated.

  • AncientC

    Jun 25, 2017 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #5

    hibbit, “The club declined to comment on Saturday night.” Rob Draper writing for the Daily Mail.

  • Mag52

    Jun 25, 2017 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #6


    The theory that Rafa has thrown his toys out of the pram and threatened to leave sounds very unlikely, but the idea that Charnley ( influenced obviously by Ashley) has been penny pinching on some of the proposed deals rather getting on with securing the players that Rafa wants seems highly likely.
    It wouldn’t be the first time, as Ed points out.
    If this street trader mentality of Ashley’s, where you haggle often just for the sake of haggling, does cause problems between him and the manager, he’ll have a hell of a lot to answer for from the fans.

  • Bobbybee

    Jun 25, 2017 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #7

    We don’t even know if we were in for those players we allegedly missed out on. Paper talk and agents – who’ve had us linked to about 120 so far. What’s the odds of the ones we ‘missed’ being the ones we were actually after, from that 120?
    Rafa has already been quoted as saying the potential sale is having no effect on transfers.
    He’s not advertising his targets, like last season. Players are still on holiday and their signature might be the only hold up. We simply don’t know.
    If Rafa’s got a problem then we’ve all got one, but let’s not get carried away again.
    Unless you really want to, then go ahead. What’s this one? Rafa crisis #5? I’ve lost count already.

  • hibbit

    Jun 25, 2017 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #8

    by all accounts Charnley is not making the decisions anymore and now has to run them past Ashley’s new man Justin Barnes !!!!

  • Novocastrian66

    Jun 25, 2017 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #9

    it’s false economy and so like Newcastle. They have shown they can get deals done when they want to however this wrangling over relative peanuts always cost the club in the end.
    when will they ever learn?

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Jun 25, 2017 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #10

    Newcastle United remind me how the TORY party runs this Country

    The Country has no money – got to have austerity, cut the NHS, cut the Police, cut the fire service, cut welfare sell of public services through the back door, get the cheapest deals deals – bug the safety, dodgy arm deals – ain’t got a clue what they are doing with Brexit.

    Same time the ‘Big boss men’ ‘organisations’ getting richer, squirrels their ill gotten gains offshore and the members of parliament arse lick to the supreme leader Chairman May

    And still the Tories supporters will still vote for them whatever

    Remind you of a football club !!!

    where the supporters including me will still buy my season ticket and support them


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