Rafa Benitez has achieved something quite remarkable.
To have Newcastle United top 10 and 13 points above the relegation zone with five games still left to play…
After beating Arsenal 2-1 despite falling behind on 14 minutes, Rafa Benitez simply declared ‘I want to congratulate everyone’.
The Newcastle boss wanting to share the moment and the glory, saying ‘It is a massive achievement for the players, the city and the fans’.
Quite ‘amazing’ on so many levels.
Seen as it is Rafa Benitez himself who should be taking an overwhelming share of the credit AND the fact is we had become so used to have charlatans such as Alan Pardew, who were always determined to blame everybody else for defeats and claim any credit for victories for themselves.
Whilst Arsenal did have midweek European commitments, it is worth mentioning that either of their two strikers today, cost about the same as Newcastle’s entire starting eleven.
Lacazette and Aubameyang showed their class when combining for the opening goal but it was Rafa Benitez who masterminded yet another win against the odds.
Summing up the 90 minutes, the Newcastle boss stated ‘Today we didn’t play amazing football, because we played an amazing team, but you have to manage how you play and compete for the win’.
To borrow Rafa’s buzzword for today, it has been ‘amazing’ just how competitive he has made this team.
After regularly beating the teams that were battling relegation, the last seven games have seen five wins and a draw, which included victories over top eight clubs Man Utd, Leicester and now Arsenal.
Rafa Benitez, simply…amazing.
“Obviously I’m really pleased.
“It was important for us to achieve that [Premier League safety], and the way that we did it, every single player, every fan, every member of staff… have to congratulate them all…because it has been a fantastic achievement in a very difficult season.
“We started learning, without too much experience for some players in the Premier League, little by little we were growing.
“Especially in this second half of the league, the team has grown in confidence.
“We were so good in a lot of things, that in the end, I think that we deserve to be where we are.
“Some people were dreaming that maybe we could be here – but they were not awake.
“We were awake, we were believing from day one, and we have achieved what we wanted.
“I think we are safe with 41 points.
“It is a massive achievement for the players, the city and the fans.
“I want to congratulate everyone.
“Today we didn’t play amazing football, because we played an amazing team, but you have to manage how you play and compete for the win.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Arsenal 1
Newcastle: Perez 29, Ritchie 68
Arsenal: Lacazette 14
Possession was Arsenal 72% Newcastle 28%
Total shots were Arsenal 15 Newcastle 8
Shots on target were Arsenal 3 Newcastle 4
Corners were Arsenal 5 Newcastle 2
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie (Murphy 86), Shelvey, Kenedy, Perez (Joselu 79), Gayle (Slimani 63))
Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Hayden
Crowd: 52,210 (2,700 Arsenal approx)
(Alan Shearer revels in Newcastle win and has Piers Morgan and other Arsenal fans biting – Read HERE)
(United fan/writer instant reaction to the 2-1 victory – Read it HERE)
(Match ratings of all NUFC players after beating Arsenal – Read HERE)
(Arsene Wenger says Newcastle didn’t even deserve a point…Read HERE)