Another win and Newcastle United go second in the table, with Alan Shearer giving us an insight into what the thoughts of Rafa Benitez were, going into yesterday’s Brentford match.

The United legend says he met up for a coffee with the Newcastle boss during the week and Rafa is ‘loving life in Newcastle’.

Rafa Benitez has demanding standards and according to Alan Shearer he is ‘reasonably happy with the way things are going’.

After these 12 games there is at last a sign that there could be a bit of a breakaway happening with a few clubs at the top, including Newcastle.

Shearer says that the Spaniard knows, like everybody else, that promotion has to happen ‘this season, not next season’.

The legendary number nine says Rafa has confidence in his players but Alan Shearer believes that by Christmas, the 12 new signings will have managed to ‘realise and understand’ what it is all about playing at St James Park – with performances then set to go up several notches as a result of that.

Alan Shearer talking to Coral:

“There is a feel-good factor, they (Newcastle fans) are happy with the way the season is going. It was a tough start with the first two league games, a baptism of fire, but Rafa has them going in the right direction.

“I think what the early season has proved to everyone is that it’s not going to be a walk in the park for Newcastle, there are teams in the Championship that will push them and it is one hell of hard long slog.

“I had a coffee with Rafa in the week and he is reasonably happy with the way things are going, he’s loving life in Newcastle and, hopefully, long may that continue.

“He’s confident in his players.

“He, like everybody else, knows the aim is to get back in the Premier League, this season, not next season.

“They’re on track to do that, he knows it’s a long, hard slog, but he’s confident in his players. He’s got a group of players he feels he can work with and improve and they will improve.

“A lot of the players have not played in an atmosphere like St James Park before so once they realise and understand what it’s like then they’ll improve and get better from Christmas onwards.”