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Rafa Benitez Is Still Being Unfairly Labeled As Boring By Some In Media

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville had some interesting comments about Rafa Benitez recently during an event for Sky Bet’s preview of the Premier League season.

All clubs were represented, and Gallowgate Shots were there for Newcastle. The entire exchange has been published by the Chronicle.

We found the following comments by Carragher and Neville to be quite intriguing as they were a bit critical of Rafa Benitez’s lack of attacking football while at Newcastle.

This is what Gary Neville had to say about Newcastle under Rafa Benitez:

“I’ve got a lot of time for him but when I went up to Newcastle, I thought the football was average. To me, it didn’t represent the club, it didn’t represent the city, it didn’t represent the culture, didn’t represent what you are.

“You could argue he was doing the best he could – he gave you that impression all the time – that his hands were tied behind his back, that he had to play this way. No, he wanted to play like that because that’s the way he plays.

“He played like that at Liverpool when he had money. Every time I went, I think he was having you over. He [Carragher] agrees by the way. He can’t say it but he agrees!”

We always admired Rafa Benitez for the way he had Newcastle set up. It was a pragmatic approach, and it worked to keep Newcastle comfortably in the league. Unfortunately, that was all that Benitez believed could be achieved while he was here.

It was not the attacking football of Kevin Keegan, but it was what had to be done to keep Newcastle afloat as they continued to drift further away from their Champions League past.

The following is part of Jamie Carragher’s response to Neville’s assertion that Benitez’s style of football was boring.

“I agree with some of the sentiments you’ve [Neville] said in that I still think me watching Newcastle in the last couple of years, it still could have been a bit more on the front foot, using the crowd.

“I commentated on the Newcastle/Liverpool game at the end of the season, the atmosphere was electric. It was just an end to end game.

“I’m not saying Rafa Benitez would ever be Kevin Keegan – he’s organised, he’s a top manager – but I still think he could’ve trusted the players a bit more and just created that atmosphere at Newcastle a little bit more and I just think now with the actual players he’s brought in…I was looking at the players that you’ve brought in.”

Jamie Carragher is not going to slate Rafa Benitez and is absolutely correct that he was a top manager. There were games when Rafa did open it up a bit but when playing sides like Manchester City, he would take the pragmatic route and defend.

While the national media were harsh on Rafa for that, what choice did he really have? He kept Newcastle in games while teams that tried to play open like Huddersfield were getting trounced 0-5 at home against top-six sides.

Gary Neville continued with the following comments:

“You go into the season knowing you’re not going to win the league or probably challenge for it but you want to go to the match and you want to go with your mate, have a few pints, get excited, get on the edge of your seat.

“You want a player you’re going there to watch or can’t wait to see him today. But it was never like that under Benitez with Newcastle. Even under Pardew, I know you didn’t like him. He had a couple of strikers, [Hatem] Ben Arfa was there – you had a few things.

“How did you get over the fact that you weren’t going to match being excited but still all loved Benitez?”

The fans were able to get excited because it was Rafa Benitez who was the manager. He is a world-class manager and he did what he could to keep the club afloat.

It’s on to Steve Bruce now and he will have a different style. It remains to be seen if it will be equally as effective and we will reserve judgment until more results are in.

However, Rafa Benitez’s time at Newcastle will always be remembered. Even if it wasn’t exciting for some, it was magical for us.

26 comments so far

  • Jib

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #1

    Yup it is
    They are advertising a free trial if you want to have a look

  • magscar

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #2

    Rafa kept it tight from day one even in the Championship. His objective was to get us promoted and then to keep us up on a budget. Often wasn’t entertaining but it was a needs must at the beginning of his project in rebuilding a broken club.

    Would we have become more expansive as he developed his team and club structure -well we’ll never know 🙁

    Bruce might benefit from some of the foundations but as we know all players under Rafa had a function and instructions in making the team what it was – it could be a bumpy ride now as Bruce tries to keep it tight but wants to loosen up forward play.

    Oh a football comment from me (well sort of) that felt better 😉

  • DubaiMicky

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #4

    I agree with them, playing and losing 1-0 with only 25% possession is soul destroying. Who would rather lose 4.3 and attack more like the Keegan age?

    Rafa was good for the club at the time, but he’s gone, and let’s face it the football wasn’t fun, his work and affinity with the supporters was what really kept us going (he’s good at that), the football and the substitution timings were predictable.

    Anyway, he’s gone, onwards and upwards as they say.

    If Bruce plays a more attacking game then I think he’ll get the fans back onside, it’s a big IF mind you.

    Here’s hoping a front 3 of Joe, StM and Miggy can do their part, ably supplied by Longstaff, Hayden and Shelvey will bring the excitement back to the team.

  • Tony Baloney

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #5

    There was pre-boxing day and post-boxing day. I know which Rafa I preferred.

  • Just a fan

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #6

    Mike Ashley is a good husband.
    He loves his kids.
    He has a lovely house and is a good provider.
    He employs thousands of people and is trying to save the high street.

    Online guy….put me on your list.

  • Ron Knee

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #7

    When Stephanie Frappart takes charge of the Uefa Super Cup between Chelsea and Liverpool on Wednesday, it will not be the biggest game she has refereed this summer.

    The French official will make history by becoming the first female to officiate in a major men’s European match on Wednesday.

    But having also taken charge of the Women’s World Cup final in July and Ligue 1 matches in France since April, she says she will not be feeling any extra pressure. (BBC)

  • Tony Baloney

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #8

    Oh shyte. Boxing day. That got me thinking so I looked up the fixtures and who do we have this Boxing Day. Man U away. Of course we do.

    They may have dropped a notch or 2 but when did we last win at Old Trafford?

  • Genjikai

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #9

    I hope they can succeed. Hopefully we have a new 3 amigos uptop.
    We finally have an abundance of pace in the team, st max looks like he has the potential to wow.
    Hopefully he comes on strong, almiron needs to stay strong, stay on his feet, hell score soon.
    Joelinton, i want him to do well. Has anyone seen him play much?
    Its not bruces fault that players arnt brought in early for a good preseason.
    There is alot about ashleys version of nufc needs to improve on, if he is going to give any manager a chance to succeed he needs to start doing things properly.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #10

    I’m assuming Posada is angry because he chose to attend the match and a handful of people who never attend anyway have called him a sheep, stupid, and an Ashley supporter. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned. Next time there’s a protest don’t turn your vitriol on your own fans. And if you do, anticipate one of them might get angry. Calling people names is the fastest way to make enemies.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #11

    Our three main attacking players are the types I love to watch so we should be a little more exciting this year. I’ve just got concerns none of them have a track record for scoring goals in their previous leagues, never mind the EPL. Generally players moving to a tougher league don’t start scoring more goals, especially not when put in a team that is near the bottom of the league. Hoffenheim scored for fun last year and yet our man only got six plus one penalty. We seem to be buying players just because they are talented without looking at the team.

  • Ron Knee

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #12

    “We seem to be buying players just because they are talented without looking at the team.”

    For a change.

  • Jib

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #13

    The next Mike Williamson
    Calling people names is the fastest way to make enemies.

    Shagging some’s missus can do it fast as well

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #14

    Rafa played boring (pragmatic) cos we never had the players. We added Almiron and it got better. Bruce will probably have a go, and I hope it works. I like him and I like having a Geordie manager, but I’d still rather have Rafa evaluating the players and choosing a style of play to gain the most points. Truth is though, you need to provide value on the match day ticket and also gather points. Everything that the club does right and wrong ultimately runs out on to the pitch on match day.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #15

    First thing even an 8 year old playing a manager game would do is make sure there’s a couple who have scored goals in the past.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #16

    You should add a new category. Who is manager for the last game of the season, or date of Bruce getting sacked.
    I’d say Mark Hughes, he was always the best of the dinosaurs. And I think Bruce will go in February after three months of protests.

  • Genjikai

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #17

    We brought in carroll to do that? Hes the prem experienced striker we were all looking at bringing in.

  • dougie

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #18

    All the club had to do was keep hold of our goalscorers and bring the other guys in to supplement them.What we have now is a front three with pace but they hardly ever score a goal.It makes no sense,all the parasite is hoping for is Almiron,Joe and Max doing well this season so he can double his money in 12 months time.I know it’s early days but Norwich is massive,if we lose that game the pressure will ramp up considerably on Bruce.Lets hope he does a bit better with his substitutions on Saturday.Rafa would have kept this squad up with his tactical ability but if Bruce tries to change the way we’ve played for the last three years we’ll be down before Christmas.

  • Jib

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #19

    If Charnley had his mind set on an English manager
    The McClaren experience must have been at the front
    of his mind
    Bruce will probably be cut more slack by the crowd than
    most candidates
    Social media’s hysteria against him (frog and Jail calling
    him traitor) doesn’t reflect the real world.

  • one fine day

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #20

    I’m assuming Posada is angry because he chose to attend the match and a handful of people who never attend anyway have called him a sheep, stupid, and an Ashley supporter. Maybe there Etc
    It really does never end on here …it’s an international blog run from North Carolina ,yet it is still a constant about those who go are the more entitled to have an opinion be in right or wrong .Trying to pigeon hole the support is also a way to devide it .
    Should we just rate fans and be done with it ?
    Ok ” local ” is say 20 / 30 if they go to games.
    Tell me what does a “supporter”Canada score ? Singapore ?
    How about someone in Thailand who chose to support nufc over the usual Liverpool /man Utd ? Give them a 6 ?
    It’s like the league of gentlemen on here at times
    Maybe we just go with a big sign over the gates
    “A local club for local people”

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #21

    Gary Neville and his ‘attacking’ football at Valencia. How did that work out?

    Mourinho in a small segment on sky gave these lot a lesson in punditry and tactical awareness.

    They should actually listen.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #22

    Yeah agreed, Perez, Rondon, Almiron, Joelinton, St Max, Carroll. That’s the calibre of forwards the club should have to call on, and Rafa to manage them. Coulda, shoulda done it. No offense Steve, but it’s true.

  • Jib

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #23

    All the club had to do was keep hold of our goalscorers

    Rondon clearly was going to join Rafa in China for a last big
    payday.Perez was talking to Spanish TV about leaving Tyneside
    last autumn , and had a buy-out clause.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #24

    At the end of the day, football is subjective. People talk about possession and being defensive. As a previous defender I enjoy teams that can play organised and break on teams. Atl Madrid in their pomp are brilliant to watch and imo miles better than teams who have a lot of possession but don’t do anything with it.

    Second half of last season, I didn’t think we were boring. People seem to think being organised and know what you’re doing defensively is boring but it’s an art. Just as much as a defence cutting pass and first time finish.

  • beefman13

    Aug 14, 2019 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #25

    Bruce will get peddled with a multi million payout for his troubles sooner or later, how can he fail, by the time he gets his P45 the fans would have turned on him anyways, another one calling us a bunch of toby jugs.

  • MarkBro

    Aug 14, 2019 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #26

    Totally agree


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