Jermaine Jenas says that he hopes Newcastle supporters are ‘understanding’ of the situation at St James Park.
The former NUFC midfielder thinks that with instant promotion as champions and especially the run of promising early season results in this campaign, Rafa Benitez was ‘hugely overachieving’.
Certainly some of the comments from supporters, and especially pundits/experts, were way over the top when Newcastle beat West Ham, Swansea and Stoke, one after the other.
When you add in the other victory against Crystal Palace, the truth is that all Newcastle’s wins this season have come against other clubs in the bottom six.
Starting next Saturday, in the space of six weeks Rafa’s team play all of those four clubs they beat, in the reverse fixtures. Survival probably largely depends on how they get on in that quartet of matches.
Firstly though, on the back of one point from eight games, Newcastle United travel to Arsenal, Wenger’s team having won all of their last 12 Premier League home matches before coming unstuck last time out against Man Utd.
Jermaine Jenas doubts whether Newcastle have enough players with the quality and/or character to deal with the challenges of the Premier League and/or Newcastle United.
However, he does believe that Rafa Benitez couldn’t be doing a better job of how he is handling such a desperate situation.
As Jenas says “I mean, where do you go from Benitez?”.
I think anybody with two brain cells to rub together, knows that if for any reason Rafa left, then the new boss would be something along the lines of Joe Pardew, Steve Kinnear, John McClaren, or Alan Carver.
Jermaine Jenas talking to The Express:
“I think Newcastle fans, hopefully, are understanding of the task at hand.
“I think Rafa Benitez was hugely overachieving as a manager at that football club, this year particularly.
“They are in desperate trouble, they really are.
“And they are now approaching that stage that Benitez was seriously worrying about happening, due to the lack of the quality in the squad.
“But not only is it one of the youngest squads in the league, but they are probably one of the weakest squads in the league. And that whole thing of Newcastle being what they were, is just not there.
“It’s clear that the investment needs to be put into the club because relegation is staring them right in the face all of a sudden.
“I think from Benitez’s point of view, he’s took them up, he’s fought hard for the first half of the season and he’s trying to convey that message of: ‘Listen, if you stand behind these players, they will keep trying and they will keep fighting for you.’
“I’m not sure they’ve got enough characters and enough players to handle that, to be honest with you. It’s a tough scenario to find yourself in as a player at St. James’ Park when they’re on your back.
“He’s doing a really good job in my opinion of trying to manage that and get an understanding from the fans, without saying it: ‘Yes, we’re in a relegation battle, understand the quality that I have at hand, I’m gonna fight for you’.
“I mean, where do you go from Benitez?”