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Alan Shearer on the problems Rafa Benitez faces at Newcastle and qualities he brings

5 years ago

Alan Shearer says he was surprised that Rafa Benitez was prepared to take his latest job, based on the relegation fight and also given Newcastle United’s ‘image’ as a club.

Benitez had revealed that Alan Shearer had offered to help him in any way possible and the United legend confirms that they will do lunch or a coffee sometime soon.

A subject that Alan Shearer is a master at, is also one that will be occupying much of Rafa Benitez’ thoughts after watching his first game in charge.

Only Aston Villa have scored less goals than Newcastle’s total of 28 and in their 16 away games (incl FA Cup at Watford) they have scored only seven goals, less than all other 91 clubs in the four divisions.

The defeat at Leicester was Newcastle’s eighth away loss in a row and they have only scored two goals in those matches – last night that rarely looked like changing, even though Newcastle played almost three quarters of the match knowing they had to score at least one, even to have a chance of a point.

Alan Shearer commented on twitter after the match:

“Big win again for Leicester. Can’t fault effort from Newcastle tonight but lack of goal-scoring threat is a massive problem.”

Alan Shearer can give Rafa Benitez all the advice he wants about scoring goals but you also need the tools to do it – at the moment those tools look pretty blunt and have done for most of the season.

As Shearer also pointed out before the match though, if Newcastle hadn’t ditched Steve McClaren then they were definitely going down.

Saying that ‘there is no way you can doubt Rafa’s calibre’, Shearer believes Newcastle have the best possible man for the job but should have acted sooner…

Alan Shearer writing for Coral:

‘Rafa Benitez is a big coup for Newcastle United

The appointment of Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United is a great coup for the club. I was surprised, given Newcastle’s image and predicament that a guy of his standing in the game has taken it on. Since speaking to him, though, I know he feels this is a big club.

Rafa has got a tough job on his hands as the club is positioned where they are for a reason. I am a little surprised Newcastle didn’t act earlier. If Rafa had got the job a month ago, they might be better placed now in the table.

I know he has the clause in his contract for him to leave if they get relegated and that is understandable because he is a top manager and would not want to work in the Championship. What Newcastle have done now is give themselves a chance to remain in the Premier League. If they had not made the change, then I think we would have been relegated.

There is no way you can doubt Rafa’s calibre. This is a man who has been in charge of Liverpool, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Napoli and Chelsea and has had lots of success. He’ll be brilliant if he is allowed to manage and bring in his own players (of any age).

First and foremost though, he has to keep Newcastle in the Premier League for these things to happen. The transfer policy at the club is not relevant at the moment because he can’t implement those things until he secures their top flight status for next season.

From Sunderland and Norwich’s point of view, they would have been happy for the club to stick with what they had. This will be a bit of a blow to them as it improves Newcastle’s chances of survival as he will make them tougher and harder to beat.

When you look at the problems Rafa faces, he has to do a bit of everything because they are not scoring goals and they are shipping too many. I haven’t worked with him before but if you speak to people who have, they say he is brilliant tactically and a very good coach on the training ground.

We spoke on Friday just after he had been unveiled and I said I would love to be around in Newcastle on a day when we won a trophy. We had half a million on the street here when we got beaten in two cup finals.

I lived in Formby, which is near Liverpool, when I played for Blackburn. I told him the people here are very similar to how they are in Liverpool. They are hard-working, passionate and just live their lives for football.

I also said if there is anything he ever wants my advice on at Newcastle, all he has to do is ask. He said he would like to do that over a coffee or lunch some time.


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