Mark Lawrenson doesn’t think Rafa Benitez is happy with the Newcastle squad he has at the present.

Even after the January transfer window and three players arriving on loan, Lawrenson thinks that Newcastle’s options have barely improved.

As for Rafa, Mark Lawrenson rather bizarrely illustrates the Newcastle manager’s unhappiness with a lack of backing from Mike Ashley on transfers, by saying that Benitez ‘Wouldn’t be happy if he had Suarez, Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Bale as his front five, that’s just Rafa’s way’.

I think there is an awful lot of difference, and many many players in between, when comparing that front five and the hand Rafa has been dealt at the moment.

To back up the idea that Rafa Benitez will never be totally happy, Mark Lawrenson tells an anecdote about Steven Gerrard. After a Liverpool win, Lawrenson says Gerrard was called to the manager’s office and rather than getting praise for the victory, the player was handed a DVD of all the mistakes he’d made in the match and to go away to analyse it.

Lawrenson the making the quip that Rafa will have been doing plenty of these DVDs for Newcastle players this season.

The now Newcastle boss is undoubtedly ruthless and when players go against him, or don’t follow his instructions and/or aren’t disciplined, then they often get sidelined for long spells, or permanently…

We have already seen this with the likes of Mitrovic, Shelvey, Colback and Mbemba.

Mark Lawrenson was interviewed last week after Newcastle’s draw with Palace but before the win over Manchester United, the interview with

Ironic/amusing that Lawrenson doesn’t even reference the fact that Martin Dubravka had also arrived in January, the keeper then coming in and being man of the match in that victory over Man Utd!

Do you think Rafa Benitez will be happy with what he’s got now?


“Rafa wouldn’t be happy if he had Suarez, Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Bale as his front five, that’s just Rafa’s way.

“I remember Steven Gerrard saying to me that a few years ago when Rafa was in charge of Liverpool and Stevie G would’ve been in the top three players playing in the Premier League at that time.

“It was international week and Liverpool had just played at home at Anfield and won and Rafa said to Steven, “just nip down to my office will you I need to have two minutes with you” after the game and Steven went down and Rafa gave him a DVD and said “Steven just look at that whilst you’re away.” And Steven said “yeah okay” and do you know what it was?

“It was all of the mistakes he had made in the game. That’s Rafa. He didn’t show him all the wonder goals and all the times he had pulled them up by the boot laces and won games, it was know your mistakes.

“That’s Rafa. I bet he’s up all night making them for the Newcastle players this season!”

How do you feel Newcastle are shaped now after the window has closed?

“Not much better.

“Kenedy in the first half at Palace, the boy they’ve got on loan from Chelsea, he’s a bit of a free spirit but he’s a really really good footballer and Rafa took him off. And in all honesty, he probably looked their most skilful player but then that’s a Rafa thing.

Slimani is the other they’ve signed who wasn’t quite ready.

“I really don’t see goals in Newcastle, although against Palace they did commit forward however, Palace had all sorts of chances and really could and should have won that game.

“I think they’re scrappy and I look at the three promoted, I know you mentioned Newcastle but I think you’ve got to lump in Huddersfield who are obviously just falling, falling, falling, they don’t have goals in them, but Brighton, obviously they signed Ulloa and the boy from PSV, but it looks like Brighton are trying to address the problem.

“For the promoted teams, it’s always about getting enough goals to win games, not worrying about getting beat by City and Man United by 3 or 4, it’s really about the results against the teams who are in the same position.

“But it’s about goals, goals make the difference in staying in the division and getting relegated and I just look at Newcastle and kinda go “am I convinced Slimani will get loads of goals for Newcastle?” No I’m not convinced at all.”

  • TheFatController

    Not really improved? Then says ‘Kenedy looked their most skillful player’ (?)

    Slimani: £30m striker challenging £5m striker? nope, I’m seeing nothing there by way of improvement.

    Lawro’s genius insight stretches to wisdom like ‘why would Lerner and Ashley invest when they won’t get into top 4 or be relegated?’ Eighteen months before both were relegated…

    A man who can spend time at the club in a coaching capacity and forever talk like he’d never been here…he’s a weird one.

  • Rich Lawson

    Hansen your central back pal was always a much better pundit than you (at least he smiled,and where has he gone ?) If Schetvey G had a good game the media and his fawning late night drinking pals (It’s your round again Steve ) would be the first to tell him. It’s a manager’s job to give a player a pat on the back but show where their game can be improved surely ?

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    We`ve needed a striker for years but come every window it`s ignored or we buy garbage like Joselu to try and paper over the cracks. it never works & in the summer it`ll be the same old story.
    nothing will change until the Fat lad leaves

  • JEz_Brizzle

    So how come Lawrenson is just a pundit and Rafa is a respected manager, winning titles here there and everywhere (when he has the backing). Sometimes as a manager you have to pull a person back in line instead of praising them. A top manager learns what works for certain players too.
    All I’d say is for Lawrenson to keep being a pundit, so we can laugh at some of his silly quips

  • Geordiegiants

    The mans a womble!

    • Leicester Mag

      More like a Cockwomble

  • Wor Lass

    Cue all those people who take Jackie`s bait without thinking about what Lawro actually said and meant. He`s complimenting Rafa in saying that he`s an absolute perfectionist who will never be totally happy.

    • Geordiegiants

      He is still a womble!

    • Leazes.

      They take it as an excuse to have a go…. that’s why they lined up the most despised pundits on here for the adformercial, Merson et al.

      It’s just repeated week after week and the muppets bite!

      • Wor Lass

        It`s funny, though.

    • Kneebotherm8

      The absolute best don’t rest on their laurels and accept there’s no room for improvement.

  • Paul Patterson

    Back to MOTD..

  • Jamie Lumley

    I’ve always thought that old ‘Lorro’ was doing a good job in spite of his dementia….. We’ve all had a good laugh at his rambling gibberish over the years. He’s always dined out on his glory days and fair play to the lad, but we shouldn’t listen to anything he says with any degree of this interest. It’s only a matter of time before most scousers will relate anything at hand to a Stevie G anecdote – it’s meaningless …..

  • Stephen

    The first TV company to employ a pundit with a personality will get a shock at the increase in viewing figures

  • Steve Smith

    It’s just a deflection so that he doesn’t get accused of trying to stir up drama.

  • GeordieZebra

    Stevie G raves about the fact Rafa strived to get him to be ‘the best he could be’.

    Lawro is an alcoholic schizophrenic. Ignore.

  • Wor Monga

    …These are just a bunch totally inane anti-Toon statements… why bother making a DVD highlighting a players mistakes in a game, then give it to him seeing as it would probably just be dumped in the nearest bin, on the way out…Rafa would use sequences he had recorded, with the player on a one-on-one basis, to point out any problems he had with the lad to get continuous improvement…and if it didn’t then they would rightly be on their way out…

    …He took Kenedy off…that’s no big deal seeing as young the lad has hardly played at PL level this season, which is a sensible conservation of energy…He’s convinced by Ulloa, at Brighton who hasn’t scored this season, but not by Slimani who came from the same club and has scored 5 times…and he probably had never heard of Dubravka who hadn’t played for Barcelona or Real Madrid so he’s obviously nobody!!!

  • Polarboy

    Some of the sh*te that comes out of these ex-professionals is astounding. If it was Fergie who was handing players videos of their mistakes he’d be lauded and it would be seen as another example of how he was the greatest ever manager. Both players and coaches regardless of their standing in the game should always be trying to get better and or maintain their level. As for his comments on Brighton, how exactly does them getting Leicester’s fifth choice striker and a very average striker, based on stats, from the Dutch league who barely cracked double figures. As for Kenedy, he wasn’t match fit you absolute plum. He was clearly knackered when he was coming off against Palace.

  • relaxed

    Rafa is the best manager Liverpool have ever had, (fact)
    Lorro is just a pi$$head

    • theoriginalbomberman

      Kenny Dalglish is the best manager Liverpool ever had. (Fact) unlike Rafa he won them multiple league titles. Rafa is a glorified cup manager at a club who couldn’t give a rat’s about winning cups.

      • Rich Lawson

        They both did ok,but I think you need to check Bob Paisley’s record.

  • ghostrider

    Something must have happened to Lawrenson when he was at Newcastle, because he basically hates us.

    • robbersdog

      You’re quite right; he was a ‘defence coach’, but he was rubbish and got the sack pretty quickly. Just like he was sacked by Peterborough and Oxford.

      He’s a failed coach/manager with a big chip on his shoulder.

      • relaxed

        A bit different to Rafas Liverpool record which featured on todays MSN news ranking all Liverpools managers

        1. RAFAEL BENITEZ (MAY 2004 – JUNE 2010)
        Win Ratio: 55.4%

        Trophies: Champions League (2005), FA Cup (2006), UEFA Super Cup (2005), Community Shield (2006)

        Already a success with Valencia, Benitez was headhunted as the ideal successor for Gerard Houllier in 2004, and the Spaniard built sensationally on his predecessor’s groundwork.

        Benitez’s crowning glory, of course, remains the Champions League triumph of 2005, but his work in sustaining the Reds as a European and domestic force (on a smaller budget than many of the clubs he was competing with) deserved an even longer list of honours.

        For those with an attention span shorter than a Snapchat story, Benitez is now more renowned for his infamous “fact” rant and his demise under the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Despite that, he remains the best manager Liverpool have had since the Premier League began.

    • Bob

      Had a pie / pasty lobbed off his heed by a newcastle fan at the 1998 cup final. Went proper mental, it was hilarious.

      • ghostrider

        I bet his face went all pastry. A filling end to a great day I bet. Lol

    • Mike

      During his time at the Toon he was in a furniture shop in the town and lambased a young sales lass for more discount with the amazing phrase “do you know whom i am” I looked at him and his face was furious……he was a cnt then and still is

      • Lelisevis

        He probably wasn’t happily with the table and wanted something a bit higher up.

        • Mike

          aye with a noose on the end.

  • Coble’s Return

    Suarez, Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Bale would never line up as a front five for us – Joselu would keep any one of them out of the side!

  • robbersdog

    Lawrenson has had the same hairstyle for forty-five years; he looks creepy and slightly unkempt in equal measure.

    I know that has nothing to do with his job as a ‘pundit’, but whenever I see him on the telly, he reminds me of a man who used to hang around the public swimming pool in Jesmond in the early 70s.

  • Dillon Tovak

    Yeah Rafa should have just massaged Gerrards ego, that would have improved him 🙄

  • Jamie Lumley

    Jesmond swimming baths, haha!!

  • Alreet

    Oh dear lawro. Still bitter all them years after keegan sacked you. Hes never liked us since. He still thinks hes the dogs but is so snarky and patronising on MOTD which is why hes rarely on it now and why him and shearer never do it together.

    Al made peace with Gullitt but there again he has a reasonable guy. Lawro is just a Plum.

  • Down Under Mag

    Manager always looking to be better no matter what….how is this a bad thing? Are the medis in such dire need of column inches because of a cup weekend that this is what passes for punditry these days?? Also is he really suggesting that 3 loan players added to effectively a Championship squad are meant to make ANY manager happy? As good as Dubravka and Kenedy have been in their short time here, is he really comparing havign those on the books for a few months to Suarez, Messi etc?? Come on Lawro, lay off whatever medication you’ve been taking before it does even more permanent damage to those few brain cells you have left!

  • Brian Evans

    lawernson is just another merson any excuse for a swipe he did the same to bolton tunnel vision bias