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Rafa Benitez proteges success in Italy & Scotland built on benefits of his experience

5 years ago

Hearing Ian Cathro talk, you could almost be listening to Rafa Benitez.

The 30 year old had a difficult task in taking over at Hearts halfway through the season and after two defeats and a draw in his first three matches, the doubters of the young manager were having a field day.

However, just like Rafa, Ian Cathro refuses to get carried away in either respect, saying about the need for focus and ‘We can’t be blurred by anything, positive or negative’.

After that harsh introduction to management, the next six matches have seen four wins and only two defeats, against the division’s top two teams, Celtic and Aberdeen.

In the four wins, Ian Cathro’s Hearts have scored an impressive 15 goals as his coaching and management skills start to click into gear.

Despite leaving Tyneside, Ian Cathro says that he taken ‘different things from Newcastle’ and Rafa Benitez.

The Hearts boss stating that Rafa ‘fought his way through different experiences’ which was ‘very impressive’, as he became ‘one of the top managers in the world’.

Preceding Ian Cathro out of the Newcastle United exit door was Fabio Pecchia, Rafa’ assistant leaving Newcastle last summer to take over at Hellas Verona, a club in complete disarray and who had finished rock bottom of Serie A.

Pecchia is another who has talked very positively of the impact working with Rafa Benitez has had on him and he is doing a cracking job in Italy.

After 24 matches, Hellas Verona are top of Serie B and look nailed on for an instant return to the Italian top tier.

Ian Cathro talking to Edinburgh Evening News:

“I take a lot of things from my time together (at Valencia) with Nuno, Rui Barros and Antonio Diaz.

I take different things from Newcastle as well.

“Rafa Benitez comes from a lot of different experiences. He wasn’t always one of the top managers in the world.

“He fought his way through different experiences, which is sometimes forgotten but it’s very impressive. I call on things from all of them, naturally.

“We have to stay focused on what we’re doing and not hear too much of the positives or negatives, that way we stay strong and make the progress we want to make.

“We want to experience the positive moments more but, even in those moments, we have to stay calm and clear on the things that we need to improve. We can’t be blurred by anything, positive or negative.

“Nobody will put me under more pressure than me. That means I’m in control of it, which lets me stay quite balanced about the whole thing.

“I know what I’m doing and I know where we’re going together.

“We are strong, there’s a strong collective group at this club and there are ambitious people. The players are hungry, they want to fight, so we just need to improve day-by-day. This has been the same as any other week for us in that sense.

“This is a special game (Hearts play Hibs in Scottish Cup 5th round on Sunday) for the fans, players and everyone around the club.”


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