After having to put up with the clueless management/head coaching of Steve McClaren, the relief is evident in the words of Ayoze Perez as he welcomes Rafa Benitez to St James Park.
Perez was only seven when Benitez won promotion to La Liga with his (Perez’) local team Tenerife but in his managerial career since then, Rafa has scaled the heights and won numerous trophies.
Whatever happens in the future, the here and now is 10 games to earn Newcastle United’s survival in the Premier League.
Ayoze Perez talks of everybody now changing their ‘mindset’, saying that ‘the past is gone and this is something new’.
More than any other player maybe, Ayoze Perez suffered under the terrible management of Steve McClaren.
Until his recall against Bournemouth, Perez had only made one Premier League start in seven weeks and that was as a very isolated sole striker at Everton, yet another McClaren experiment that went badly awry.
Recent weeks had seen even Gouffran and Riviere getting game time ahead of Ayoze Perez, yet another part of the incriminating evidence that proved persevering with McClaren would only take the club one way.
Ayoze Perez speaking to the official club website:
“We are really looking forward to trying to save the season and obviously Rafa can be the man.
“We know he is a top manager – he has been with big teams and it is something good for us, so we are looking forward to working with him.
“It is the right time, with ten games to go – it is a lot but you have to think about it game by game, we have to try and take points, get results, believe in ourselves, do our jobs.
“Every club he has been at he has been really good. I was really young when he got that promotion with Tenerife (2001 – Perez would have been seven), but the most important thing is we want to turn around this situation, get results and obviously everyone will be happy if we save this season.
“You have to change your mindset a little bit, but in a good way – you feel like the past is gone and this is something new. It is good for the team and I think this news is going to be important, crucial, I could see the team trained yesterday with really good intensity.
“Everyone is happy and looking forward to improve, to playing against Leicester.
“Rafa Benitez has got a good name everywhere and everyone knows him, so that is why he is here – in a big club trying to get success.
“Newcastle is a big club and we are not where we should be, so that’s why Rafa is here.”