Newcastle this season have been a team lacking leadership, desire and a tactical sense that is required of teams to do well in the Premier League. Under McClaren the team failed to live up to the hype that was created at the beginning of the season when they splashed the cash on several players who were expected to help fire the team forward. Arguably McClaren’s biggest mistake was not signing another central defender, and his blind faith in club captain Coloccini was clearly misguided and hindered the team. It came to no surprise when the axe finally fell and McClaren was sacked for what can only be described as a disastrous attempt at building Newcastle into a table topping team.
When Rafa Benitez was announced as the Newcastle United manager I must admit that I had massive reservations about the appointment. What was he going to achieve with a team that performed worse than my u11 team on their best day. Was he going to be able to turn things around and get the performance out of the players that was needed to see us survive the drop and ultimately bring the money that is about to be introduced into the Premier League.
Looking at the results since Benitez has been in charge of Newcastle and you have to wonder whether he had what it would take to keep Newcastle up. Drawing and losing to both relegation rivals in Sunderland and Norwich respectively dealt massive blows to any hope that Newcastle would have had of staying up. However, the last 3 games have changed things. All of a sudden under Benitez we have seen a much better Newcastle approach to games against the likes of City and Liverpool where 2 points were gained, when 0 were expected. Supporters all around the world will be excited and hoping beyond all hope that Newcastle will take the game to Palace and former head coach Pardew. While the win will be vitally important it’s also good to note that goal difference may yet play a massive factor in the relegation battle as Sunderland sit “pretty” with a -18 goal difference. Norwich and Newcastle have -25 and -26 respectively.
The final 3 games of the season will be the most important games for the players and for the history of our football club. 9 points will see us stay in the premier league but if Tottenham have any chance of winning the league then they will be the toughest opponent.
There is no doubt that Benitez is the man to take Newcastle forward, but his biggest challenge is keeping them in the Premier League. If he can achieve that, then we’ll have a manager who can not only turn Newcastle into a power house but who can be the first manager in a very long time to win the club a trophy.
Howay the Lads