Jamie Carragher has been talking about the situation at Newcastle United.
The player turned pundit was with Rafa Benitez at Liverpool and thinks the NUFC manager’s calmness, will be a key factor.
Carragher says that at times Rafa has been criticised in the past for not getting too excited/emotional when things are going well, but believes that a refusal to get too carried away with things whether when positive or negative, helps in the situation Newcastle find themselves in.
Last season, Rafa’s experience and expertise definitely helped towards that 10th place finish, a run of two points from nine games before Christmas saw him telling everybody to calm down and keep their focus.
However, there a worry amongst Newcastle fans that the team/squad has gone backwards, or at best stayed the same, whilst all of NUFC’s competitors have strengthened. The money spent by the promoted clubs also adds to the level of competition.
Jamie Carragher though believes that the quality of the squad is good enough to stay up, whilst not surprisingly he points to Rafa as another reason as to why the Magpies will stay up.
As well as that, Carragher is of the opinion there will prove to be ‘three worse teams’ than Newcastle United.
In terms of team/quality, I think there is a case for saying Huddersfield and Cardiff might be weaker than NUFC but I struggle to identify another.
As a supporter, you do feel that if Newcastle are to survive, it will be all about Rafa’s contribution.
Jamie Carragher talking to Sky Sports:
“Newcastle have had the most difficult start in the Premier League .
“But the big problem is there have been games where Rafa Benitez and his staff would have looked and thought ‘We know it’s a difficult start but look at Cardiff, Crystal Palace, Leicester and Brighton’ – forget about the results,they haven’t scored one goal in those games you would expect them to pick points up in.
“Rafa isn’t stupid, he knows it has been a tough start but there is no way he would have envisaged two points and bottom of the league.
“That is the huge worry for him because you’re talking about the fixtures coming, nine where they don’t play the top six, well they’ve had four of them already and not scored a goal.
“It’s not time to make a change (though), the big thing is they have a manager who as one of his biggest strengths has calmness, and sometimes he has been criticised for that….when he’s doing well he doesn’t show emotion, doesn’t celebrate goals.
“But on the flipside that helps when Rafa is in this position.
“Every manager in that position will be under pressure, so of course Rafa Benitez will be under pressure.
“But talk of Mike Ashley making a change…I saw Brendan Rodgers got linked with the job last week…well this is a manager (Rafa Benitez) who was there last season, knows the Premier League well, knows the squad well and has this calmness under pressure.
“I still believe there will be three worse teams than Newcastle.
“I think they will stay up because of the manager and the quality they have.”