At half time on Saturday Newcastle found themselves 2-0 down after Everton had taken the chances they were offered in that first half.
And the disappointment was compounded after Matt Ritchie had missed his first penalty for Newcastle.
Today is Rafa’s third anniversary at Newcastle, and it’s been three good years for Newcastle.
Happy anniversary goes out to Rafa and his excellent team.
We were promoted in his first season – finished 10th last season and could well beat our points total of 44 of last season.
We need 11 points in the final 8 games to achieve that.
Rafa Benitez likes to keep calm, and at half time he was extremely measured.
But some of our players were agitated at the state of the game, with the referee giving some strange decisions in that first half.
Rafa says he likes to stay calm when things are difficult and that he celebrates – but from the inside – he is always proud when Newcastle get another win.
Rafa Benitez – after the game on Saturday – what a comeback!
This is what Rafa said after the game as reported in the Chronicle today:
“It is very difficult to rank. It was a great game but we still have many to play,”
“This was good, you have to enjoy it, but I was not thinking: ‘This is the game.’ It was important we got the result, but we have to continue winning.”
“Other memorable games for my time here?”
“We had Norwich here, Brighton away when we were in the Championship. Last season, some massive games; we had Manchester United, even Arsenal.”
“But this one was important because this is our race now, to avoid relegation. It’s very important and the way that we did it has been massive for the fans, and for everyone.”
“No, I wanted to know how long there would be and the position of their midfield, because they changed their shape; all these things.”
“Someone has to stay calm and think and give advice. That’s my job,”
“Yes, my backroom staff have to do it – celebrate!” “But someone has to stay calm.”
“If we win more games, I’ll be happy. When we win I feel proud inside and celebrate from inside.”
Late in the game, after Perez had scored what turned out to be the winner, things were electric inside St. Jame’s Park.
But in the vital few minutes left in the game, Rafa was arranging the side to try to ensure that Everton did not get a late equalizer.
After Rafa turned to the 4th official and said that’s it – times up – as he pointed to his watch – the final whistle was blown.
Rafa took his glasses off, shook the hands of several people, and then put his glasses into his inside pocket and walked onto the pitch.
He was celebrating inside.
And it was another win for Newcastle!