Chancel Mbemba puts the recent rise in Newcastle’s performances and confidence down to one thing.

The influence of Rafa Benitez.

Chancel Mbemba says that Rafa is ‘the number one – the leader’ and that everything ‘trickles down from the very top’ and ‘every single one of us has confidence’.

I think there was something ‘trickling down’ from the top when Steve McClaren was in charge but I don’t think it was confidence…

Except in exceptional and poisonous circumstances inside a football club, you are never going to get a player slagging off the current manager.

However, with Rafa Benitez you do get the feeling that the players genuinely do respect him and have reacted to the best of their abilities in this relegation fight under the new boss.

Even the first team players who have been dramatically dropped, such as Wijnaldum, Shelvey and Mitrovic, appear to have reacted in the right way.

It does really confirm what we all knew, the most important person inside any club isn’t any player, it is the person you rely on to pick, train and motivate your players.

We knew that Pardew, Carver and McClaren weren’t up to the job and now we just hope against hope that Rafa Benitez is here for the long haul.

Chancel Mbemba talking to the official club website:

“Every single one of us has confidence in ourselves and in each other.

“It’s thanks to the coach, who is the number one – the leader. He instills that in every single one of us, players and staff.

“It trickles down from the very top and the whole squad have that confidence now.

“With Karl Darlow, I watched his performance (win over Palace) from the very beginning to the final whistle, I had absolute faith in him.

“When they got the penalty, I looked at him and said to myself ‘he’s going to save it, and we’re going to win this game’.”

“We were really happy, every single person in the dressing room was delighted.

“We deserved the win. Not just us, the players, but everyone involved, the staff and fans as well.

“We worked hard to take the three points. We identified it as a must win game and we needed it. We knew that it could mean we leave the relegation zone.

“We just need to continue to work hard to make sure we stay out of the relegation zone and stay in the Premier League.”