After reaching 38 points and hitting the top half of the table, Gary Lineker was full of praise for Rafa Benitez.

With six games to play Newcastle are now 10 points clear of the relegation zone on Sunday morning.

Gary Lineker declaring ‘He has really turned it around, Rafa Benitez has done a great job, no doubt about that.’

The win over (Lineker supporting) Leicester was Newcastle’s third win in a row and the Match of The Day presenter asked Danny Murphy whether a certain signing had played a major role in the turn around in form.

Kenedy has now started eight matches and Newcastle have won four and drawn three of them, giving 15 points from a possible 24, the winger contributing two goals and two assists.

Danny Murphy things Kenedy, as well as Rafa Benitez of course, has had a massive impact and it is not just goals and assists, but the Brazilian’s all round play that has helped bring out a lot more from this Newcastle team.

Gary Lineker talking on Match of The Day:

‘Has Kenedy given Newcastle something different?’

Danny Murphy:

“He has given them good energy and freshened things up.

“The last month Newcastle have improved a lot.

“Kenedy gives great delivery on set-plays, good energy, goes at people.

“He is quite confident the way he plays, he tries things, he is creative.

“He just gave them a lift when they were quite flat.

“I think a cuple of wins always helps…you start seeing Shelvey, Perez as well, coming out and playing with a bit more freedom when you have got those points.

“Chelsea bought him for a reason.

“Obviously there have been some question marks regarding his mentality or application.

“For Newcastle in recent weeks he has put in some really good performances, I like his intent. It just gives Newcastle something different.

“Newcastle are (staying) up, they deserve great credit.”

Gary Lineker:

He has really turned it around, Rafa Benitez has done a great job, no doubt about that.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Leicester 1 Newcastle 2

Goals:

Newcastle: Shelvey 18, Perez 75

Leicester: Vardy 83

Possession was Leicester 66% Newcastle 34%

Total shots were  Leicester 8 Newcastle 8

Shots on target were Leicester 1 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Leicester 7 Newcastle 5

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame (Hayden 81), Shelvey, Kenedy (Atsu 64), Gayle (Joselu 70)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Merino

Crowd: 32,066 (3,200 Newcastle)

(Read Alan Shearer’s reaction to the result HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the 2-1 victory HERE)

(Leicester boss Claude Puel reacts to the defeat HERE)

(Rafa Benitez verdict after picking up yet another three points – Read HERE)

(3 positives and 3 negatives from Leicester 1 Newcastle 2 – Read HERE)

(Match ratings of all Newcastle players after the match HERE)

To feature like Jackie Smithfield submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • Geordiegiants

    Kenedy is a bit of a Laurent Robert type player. I’m surprised Rafa has him in his side, but he has made all of the difference never the less.

    • ghostrider

      He has him in his side because he realised his earlier set ups was draining the players of confidence and desire. They were frustrated and why we went through a terrible run of games before he realised those that criticised him, were right….so he balanced it out much better and gave the fans what they really asked for.
      Kenedy has added impetus to that whilst Dubravka has added confidence between the sticks.

      The confidence build throughout is there for all to see.
      Mitrovic would have thrived of late.

      • TheFatController

        As much as Rafa’s critics are great people and totally unbiased and fair-minded, I think it is to stretch the greatness of their egos tonsuygest Rafa listened to them and then balanced the team out.

        As much as I wish it were true that Rafa heeds his critics on here, we’d all be better off for it if he did I think we can all agree, I would suggest a bigger influence than these critics was the availability of Kenedy through the little-known Transfer Window.

        You see, until he could sign Kenedy, I suspect Rafa didn’t need critics to make him aware he could play a more expansive game with a more expansive player like Kenedy.

        Maybe Rafa himself can reply on here to tell me I’m wrong and the whole Kenedy tactical change came about by listening to his critics ?

        Rafa?

        • ghostrider

          Fair enough. Maybe that’s correct.

        • Damon Horner

          I have to disagree. I’ve spoken to Rafa, we take the same cross-stitch class. He said earlier this season, he had a period where he read the comments on here and was horrified so locked himself away for a couple of days, cried a bit, had a heart to heart with Ghostrider and pulled himself around. He then went to training next day, apologised to the players, gave them permission to attack and the rest is history… nothing to do with hard work, Kenedy, Dubravka, midfield partnership, Lascelles or anything.

          • TheFatController

            Apparently rafa makes notes on cross stitching designs he’s been creating during games. Even when we score a goal, if inspiration hits him, he quickly records it on his handy cross stitch pad.

          • Damon Horner

            It’s his problem mate. Instead of training, talking and working with the players he sat alone doing his cross-stitch designs of Mitrovic being hurt or humiliated in various ways. I’m pleased he’s refocused.

          • Kneebotherm8

            TFC and DH…….it’s slappy hands time……..yous shouldn’t be tekkin the pss out of the afflicted………naughty boys……….
            For the attention of the afflicted GR…………Rafa’s not the Messiah……he’s a very naughty boy too……..😂😂😂😂

    • gallowgate26

      I think he will be better than Robert and has made more of an impact to results, perhaps he is not as good a set piece specialist (although he takes a good corner and we haven’t really seen him take many free kicks). He is more direct and better on the ball in open play, he never looks a total passenger, like Robert did in some games. It’s quite simple though, if he’s fit he plays, otherwise we could kiss goodbye to more Chelsea loanees in the future.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Are we really bothered about “Crisp-Boy” and his pointless drivel ?
    He’s just another a**ecrawler with his own agenda of making cash from chaos !