Tony Cottee has been asked who he wouldn’t want to be at this moment in time.
He came up with two managers who meet next Saturday.
Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez are in trouble for very different reasons, although for any manager it eventually comes down to the team not winning enough football matches
Manchester United have matched Manchester City’s spending and yet find themselves mid-table and already nine points off the top after seven games.
Meanwhile, Newcastle United have not matched anybody’s spending and find themselves in the relegation zone.
It is difficult surely for anybody to get away from the fact that Newcastle made a £20m+ profit this summer on transfers in and out, which is then dwarfed by the fact that there has been an even bigger profit made on transfer during Rafa Benitez’ two and a half years at the club.
This at a time of hyper inflation on Premier League transfers and every other club trying to strengthen as much as possible.
Tony Cottee criticises Rafa’s negative tactics and claims they should be doing much better with some of the ‘top players’ they supposedly have.
Interestingly, when Cottee comes to naming these ‘top players’ he only manages Shelvey and Ritchie. Which has to be taken in the context that this summer it was Championship side Stoke City trying to sign Ritchie, not high place Premier League clubs.
Tony Cottee acknowledges that Mike Ashley not allowing the club to spend money is a big problem but at the same time, he says Rafa Benitez needs to get his finger out or else the club will be relegated.
The former West Ham player claims ‘I think the fans will eventually turn on Rafa. There is a lot of love for him, we know that, and he has perhaps earned that love over the past couple of years, but fans quickly forget about what you have done.’
Well, no signs of that yet from Newcastle fans, not agreeing with Ritchie being subbed on Saturday is not the same as booing Rafa Benitez and the fans supposedly turning on him.
The football was mainly terrible to watch last season but fans understood that on such limited resources Rafa Benitez had to find some way to survive.
To then go from minimal net spend to big net profit on transfers, the Newcastle fans aren’t stupid, Rafa isn’t immune for criticism but when you starve the manager of funds to such a degree, whilst everybody else is spending – as Tony Cottee points out, then it can only be Mike Ashley that is the overwhelming reason as to why Newcastle are in such a mess, on and off the pitch.
Yahoo Sports – (Newcastle fan) Lynsey Hipgrave hosting and Tony Cottee the guest:
‘Who in the game would you not want to be at the moment?’
“Well there are probably two.
“I would say Rafa Benitez would be one and Jose Mourinho would be the other.”
“Jose Mourinho, it’s unbelievable what is going on at the minute, it’s hard to work out what is going on.
“There is a power battle and we all know what is going on between Pogba and Jose – but is he at war with the owners as well.”
‘Now Tony, it pains me to bring up Newcastle’s winless start but you have already mentioned Rafa…another awful weekend, what is going wrong for us?’
“Everything is pretty much wrong at the moment.
“Obviously off-field issues, the fans don’t like the owner, that has been the same for the last 10 years he (Mike Ashley) has been there.
“The manager is under pressure.
“I get a bit frustrated for the fans because St James Park is a wonderful stadium, 52,000 turn up every single week and then he puts out such a defensive team. With tactics basically saying let’s not win the game, let’s try not to lose.
“You have got some top players there, I love Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, there ‘s good players there. I think Rondon could do better…you have got some good players but at the moment it just seems so disorganised, they are all over the place, no surprise they lost to Leicester.
“The players know they need more investment (in the squad) and they need new players to come in. If you don’t then you just stagnate, everybody else is buying players and it is hard to push on.
“If Newcastle are not careful they are going to be in relegation trouble.
“They have already been down a couple of times (under Mike Ashley), so they have to be really careful.
“I never understood (what happened at Newcastle with) Mitrovic, he’s a top player He might be difficult to manage but you have to get the best out of your players.
“It is crazy selling him to Fulham and then you haven’t replaced him – Rondon is alright but Mitrovic is a better player.
“I think the fans will eventually turn on Rafa.
“There is a lot of love for him, we know that, and he has perhaps earned that love over the past couple of years, but fans quickly forget about what you have done.
“Football is about the present and the future, it is not about the past.
“Rafa has to get his finger out because if he doesn’t, Newcastle are going to be relegated and if so, then he (Rafa) won’t be at the club anymore.’