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Jermain Defoe talks about the Rafa Benitez factor

5 years ago

Jermain Defoe has been talking about the arrival of Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United.

Going against the norm, this time it is Newcastle who have replaced their Manager only nine days before a derby.

Though you wouldn’t put it past the mackems to sack Fat Sam to try and outdo United…

Whilst claiming a new Manager can only make a certain amount of difference, until a transfer window opens, Jermain Defoe did admit after watching the Leicester game that Newcastle looked ‘solid’ and never looked like conceding against the league leaders. Only a wonder goal, Leicester’s only attempt on target, separating the two teams.

Stating the obvious, Jermain Defoe says that one the players cross the white line, everything is then down to them.

The Newcastle players have totally failed the supporters over the course of recent years and as the Sunderland striker points out, this is ‘the biggest game for years’.

If the United team once again let everybody down, they will quite rightly feel the full force of the fans’ derision.

However, whatever the outcome Rafa Benitez won’t be the target of any blame, it is the Newcastle players who have taken the club to the brink of disaster this season and it is down to them to put that right.

Hopefully the influence Rafa Benitez can have on the team between now and 1.30pm on Sunday will be enough to get them properly focused and professional, then repeat the more disciplined performance they showed at Leicester, plus add more confidence and enterprise going forward.

Like Newcastle, Sunderland are no world beaters and are there to be beaten – time to turn up for this must win derby, no excuses.

Jermain Defoe speaking to the Sunderland Echo:

“He (Rafa Benitez) is a manager that has never really been in this situation before.

“He has been at some of the best clubs in the world and it is only normal that when a new manager comes in, players want to impress the new man.

“I watched the game on Monday night and I thought they looked solid and Leicester didn’t really look like scoring, so you can see he has done some work already.

“But it’s important that we concentrate on ourselves –  it is not a worry. It doesn’t matter who the manager is.

“I certainly won’t be going into the game thinking about Rafa Benitez – there is only so much a manager can do.

They pick the team, do the team shape and tell the players how they want you to play – but it is the players who have to go out and play.

“We have to make sure that whatever we do on Sunday, it’s better than them.

“Yes, it is the biggest game for years and all that…but the players just have to try to relax, enjoy training this week and stick to the game plan.

“You try to treat it like a normal game, but when you get off the bus and do the warm-up, you just get that feeling and know it’s a one-off game.”


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