One of Rafa Benitez’ characteristics of management that has kept him in good stead, is his calmness under severe and testing situations.
He is remembered for what he did at halftime in the Champions League Final in Istanbul in May 2005 when Liverpool were losing 3-0 to AC Milan.
He looked closely (and calmly) at things while Liverpool players were arguing in the dressing room and made some changes in both the lineup and the way the Reds were playing.
In short that changed the game and Liverpool ended up winning 3-2 penalties after extra time.
That was after Liverpool had scored three goals in just six minutes in the first 15 minutes of the second half to level the scores.
Rafa Benitez – during the home defeat to Arsenal
We need some of that at Newcastle now so we can start winning games – wins are what we need to take us quickly away from the relegation zone.
Federico Fernandez has great respect for Rafa Benitez, and he has described how the lads have been preparing for Saturday’s game at home to Brighton:
“The manager knows what he is doing, he knows what to show us on the training ground and tell us in the dressing room – and we know the wins will come.”
“From outside the pitch, everyone could see that we had the game under control against Manchester United.”
“But this is football. One free-kick from Juan Mata and, with their quality, then that changed everything with their attacking players.”
“Maybe we dropped off too deep, we started defending inside the box, and that cost us the two goals.”
“But, if we were lucky maybe we could have taken a point or even all three. Overall we were there and competing there.”
“There are always details you can improve and do better on – maybe not to concede a foul, and keep the ball for longer, rather than going long – but we know we need to fix these things.”
“We need to manage games better, but that will come over time.”
Hopefully, Rafa’s cool and calm demeanor will rub off on his players as it did last season.
Here are the next (huge) six games coming up for Newcastle.
Sat 20 Oct Newcastle vs Brighton 3:00pm Sat 27 Oct Southampton vs Newcastle 3:00pm Sat 03 Nov Newcastle vs Watford 3:00pm Sat 10 Nov Newcastle vs Bournemouth 3:00pm Mon 26 Nov Burnley vs Newcastle 8:00pm Sat 01 Dec Newcastle vs West Ham 3:00pm