Former Newcastle and England star Chris Waddle, has been talking about the challenges facing the Magpies this season.
BBC Sport were featuring the fact that two experienced and successful managers, in Rafa Benitez and Manuel Pellegrini, find themselves in the bottom three after the opening four matches.
Pressure on both bosses but the big difference this summer is the fact that the new Hammers boss had a net spend on signings of over £100m more than Rafa had.
Chris Waddle says that the NUFC manager ‘did a fantastic job’ in keeping his team in the Premier League last season, but that to do it with more or less the same group of players this time after minimal backing in the transfer market, will be ‘very hard’ for the former Real Madrid and Liverpool manager.
Waddle sees a contrast in styles with Benitez a ‘very good coach at shutting up shop and nicking results’, whilst ‘Pellegrini is very attacking and may have to adjust his style’ if things are to improve at West Ham.
The big difference for the two managers is that Chris Waddle thinks the Hammers fans could quickly turn on the new boss, whereas at St James Park it is all ‘In Rafa we trust’ for Newcastle fans.
The player turned pundit pointing out that it is Mike Ashley who will (rightfully) get the blame if things go wrong this season for Newcastle.
Waddle predicts no easy or early fix for Newcastle this season but does believe Newcastle ‘have got the manager to get through it.’
Chris Waddle talking to BBC Sport:
“Rafa is a very good coach at shutting up shop and nicking results.
“He did a fantastic job to keep them up last season, but to do it a second season running with the same players is very hard, because mentally and physically it is very hard on the players to work the system he plays.
“Rafa’s very tactical.
“The problem for Newcastle is when they go a goal down and have got to come out a bit – but he knows how this works, whereas Pellegrini is very attacking and may have to adjust his style a bit, get a result somewhere and hope to kick on from there.
“At Newcastle it is totally ‘In Rafa We Trust’, (the manager) respects the fans and it must be great thinking they could be in a bottom-six battle and the fans will be on your side.
“In a few weeks they could turn on Pellegrini or whoever is down at the bottom but at Newcastle, Mike Ashley gets it in the neck not Rafa.
“If Rafa stays in the Premier League he will get pats on the back – for Pellegrini, time will tell.
“I would say Newcastle have got enough to stay up but they will be in a battle. I don’t see them getting away from it (relegation battle) with 10 or 15 games to go.
“It will a long season but they have got the manager to get through it.”