All managers have their own ideas about tactics and Rafa Benitez has built a reputation over the years.
How do you get the right balance between defending and attacking?
Rafa’s teams are renowned for being built from a solid foundation at the back.
Not renowned as the most attacking of managers, nevertheless Rafa Benitez has found success against the odds when leading Valencia to a double La Liga triumph, as well as Champions League victory with Liverpool. Throw in the odd Europa League win for good measure.
At Newcastle, Rafa has made his team better than the individual parts but is sympathetic to Jurgen Klopp and some of the criticism he has been getting, especially when it comes to defending.
The United boss coming up with an amusing metaphor to describe the difficulty of getting the balance of your team right: ‘The ‘short blanket’…if you cover your head, you have your feet cold, but if you cover your feet, you have your head cold.’
Especially in the home matches against Stoke and West Ham, the Newcastle manager showed distinct signs of adding a bigger threat going forward, with a lot of chances created in the two games.
Interesting to see where Rafa Benitez will be placing is blanket today against Liverpool.
“Obviously, it’s a special game for me, it will be emotional, because I spent so many years there, and have so many good memories.
“My family still live in Liverpool, so it is my home. I feel like I have a home here, but my family are there.
“I have a lot of positive, very good relationships with Liverpool fans, (especially) the families connected to Hillsborough. There are a lot of connections and it will be very emotional.
“But, for me, I have to concentrate on Newcastle United, trying to win.
“There are a lot of similarities between the two clubs and the cities.
“The fans are very passionate, they follow the team and they support the team, even when things are wrong.
“The two cities are cities of people who work very hard and know what it means to work very hard. There is massive support for both teams, both have big stadiums, with all the fans behind, singing all the time. So, they are very similar.
“People say Liverpool are weak in defence but they are so strong in attack that they can score goals in any game.
“They have a lot of chances in every game, and the main thing for us is to try and be solid, not giving them the chance to create so many.
“The reality is, because they are so offensive, they sometimes have problems in defence.
“I have talked in the past about the ‘short blanket’…if you cover your head, you have your feet cold, but if you cover your feet, you have your head cold.
“Sometimes, when you attack so much, you are exposed in defence.
“To find the balance is key, if you want to have chances to win titles.
“I think they are working on that, and they will still be very dangerous going forward, even if they make some mistakes in defence.”