Barcelona born Pep Clotet has been talking in the Spanish media about Newcastle United and how the Rafa Beinitez effect is taking hold.
Clotet was assistant manager to Garry Monk at Swansea City until the change of manager in December 2015.
Having worked with Jonjo Shelvey, Pep Clotet believes that the midfielder is ‘capable of single-handedly driving the team on’ – which to be fair he has had to at times already since arriving at St James Park!
As for St James Park itself, the former Swansea assistant talks glowingly about the stadium, the city and the fans.
He also revealed that Swansea were bidding for Aleksandar Mitrovic but Newcastle took him out of their price range.
Rather bizarrely though, this is his description of the Serbian striker: ‘He (Mitrovic) is a pacy attacker who has great ability to go past players and boasts a natural goalscorer’s instinct.’
Whilst we hope that with better service, Mitrovic will prove a natural goalscorer, I don’t think anybody is expecting to see his ‘great ability to go past players’ – even that may be beyond Rafa Benitez’ powers…
Pep Clotet speaking to Marca:
The Rafa Benitez effect/Jonjo Shelvey:
“Despite defeat, the Leicester game showed the first signs that the Benítez effect is taking root amongst the players.
“I thought that Jonjo Shelvey put in a performance that was full of commitment in his role as team captain.
“He is a player I know very well from my time at Swansea, he has strong leadership skills and is capable of single-handedly driving the team on.
“He has very good vision, chips in with goals, aggressive in the tackle, provides assists and his shooting ability from range is up there with the very best in the league.”
“Newcastle have a talented forward line – strikers like Ayoze Pérez and Aleksandar Mitrovic…at Swansea we tracked the Serbian forward but his transfer fee was outside our budget. He (Mitrovic) is a pacy attacker who has great ability to go past players and boasts a natural goalscorer’s instinct.
“However, for individuals to shine, the organisational side of things has to be in place, and in particular, Newcastle need a collective team spirit.
“I’m convinced that Rafa Benítez has the tools to foster that spirit, then if they manage to get a couple of good results, the confidence will flow through the team.”
“There are no doubts as to just what an intimidating arena St James Park is.
“It is a large, impressive stadium, which is a fitting reflection of a city that literally lives and breathes football.
“The statue of Bobby Robson which stands outside the ground instantly gives the visitor the feeling that they’re at a club with a deep-rooted history.
“This impression is further enhanced on match days, as the home faithful get right behind their team from the very first whistle.
“When I was at Swansea, we picked up some good results there, despite it being one of the trickiest away grounds in the Premier League.
“However, since having arrived in England three years ago, the Newcastle that I have seen has been a struggling side.
“With the way the club is run coming under the media spotlight – its supporters, like those of many other clubs, undeserving of being put through so much pain.”