Right now, you can say that everyone at Newcastle United has done a superb job so far this season.
After the first two games (both defeats), if Newcastle fans had been told we’d simply be in the top 6 at this stage of the season, I would have been relieved.
Not that I didn’t think the players were good enough on a technical level for this league and not that I was doubting Benitez as a manager…
However, I was starting to think that changing the mentality and confidence of a group of players, who had endured such a poor run of results over the previous two years, was going to be a slow and incredibly tough process, even with the new signings, who needed help to settle themselves.
So, as we now sit top of the league in a very healthy position, I look back at those first two games with a sigh of relief. All credit to the players for not letting a pressure situation consume them.
Now that the players have settled and are more fine-tuned to what Benitez wants, we have played some great stuff and have simply brushed teams away at St James Park at times. Although there have been some late scares when things could have gone the other way; not to take anything away from our defence who have generally been brilliant.
This leads me to my main point; nothing is won yet and the toughest challenge is yet to come, a challenge we all must answer. We will hit a sticky patch; there will be some bad performances and there will be setbacks.
We can know this now before it happens. The question – and the challenge – to all of us, is how will Newcastle fans react?
We have obviously seen more than enough to know this team is capable of promotion. So, the wrong reaction would be to panic.
We hope the players keep cool heads and maintain strong confidence – we owe it to them and Rafa Benitez to do the same ourselves; they’ve earned that trust.