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Opinion

Would anybody be saying isn’t Rafa Benitez doing well 4 points better off after £80m spend on front 3?

5 days ago
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The Steve Bruce comparisons with Rafa Benitez are getting ever more embarrassing and unnecessary.

After been starved of resources after the very first transfer window following relegation, Rafa was really up against it.

He kept saying that you can only do so much with the players that you have at your disposal and that especially in forward positions, you have to properly invest and strengthen.

If you don’t have creativity and goalscorers, you are always going to be up against it.

After promotion he was only backed with a budget to buy £5m Stoke reserve Joselu up at the sharp end.

Then the following summer it was under £10m for Muto, to bring in a striker for so little, you have to be really fortunate for them to be a success in the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez was left with little option but to go very negative in certain games against the best teams and got some great results in his time at NUFC. Beating Manchester City last season as well as a draw against them back in 2016, a draw with Liverpool as well as another one with them back in 2016.

Whilst he got some other very good results against better teams playing a bit more enterprising football, especially once Miguel Almiron signed last season. Newcastle also getting wins over Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal under the Spaniard.

There has been a serious case of double standards from many pundits about style of football, as Rafa Benitez got crucified for being too negative, as though he should magically get a very average group of players playing winning attractive football, simply because he had been successful at past clubs.

In contrast, Steve Bruce has hardly had a scrap of criticism for the style of football which has been far more negative than what we saw overall under Rafa. This is despite Steve Bruce having been backed with far more investment in the squad and benefiting from the belated arrival of Almiron earlier this year.

It is another comparison though that is simply ridiculous, the non-stop comparing of this season so far and early last season when Rafa had all kinds of issues to deal with, including Ashley insisting on a £20m+ profit in the summer 2018 transfer window.

Sadly, even Alan Shearer joined in with it on Match of The Day on Saturday:

“Steve Bruce deserves a lot of credit because they are four points better off this season, than they were under Rafa Benitez last season.”

Why compare to last season under Rafa? You are not comparing like with like.

Surely if you are going to do any comparison like that, it should at least be the last 14 games under Rafa Benitez last season, once he had Almiron signed up and could play a bit better football thanks to the added quality.

Newcastle picked up 21 points in the last 14 games, five more than the 16 under Steve Bruce this season. Bruce having also had the backing of £60m spent on another two attacking players, compared to last season when Rafa had to rely on the likes of Joselu still and loan players such as Rondon who wasn’t fit until the autumn.

It isn’t a case of having a go at Steve Bruce, just a fact that people are making these ludicrous comparisons.

Bruce has done an ok job so far in terms of results and why not just say that, it isn’t relevant what happened at the start of last season when the then manager had very different backing. It is like a Grand Prix team having previously had only a budget for a Robin Reliant and looking back and wondering why they didn’t give it a proper go, compared to now having a proper budget to compete at your level.

If you stretch last season back a further two matches, in the final 16 games of his reign, Rafa Benitez had the fifth best form in the Premier League. Why do you never hear any of the lazy/biased pundits quoting that?

Fans were gutted when Rafa left and furious with Mike Ashley because he was a good manager and more importantly, had the basis of building something far better having constructed a decent team with minimal backing and now if other attacking options were brought in on top of Almiron, we could really start and make real progress.

Fans were disappointed when Steve Bruce was appointed and furious with Mike Ashley because he was a manager with a poor to average record as a manager and would never have been appointed by any other PL club, plus it was clearly a case of the NUFC owner taking over more control yet again of football matters, especially with transfers, Bruce just there to train and pick the team.

Beating Rafa Benitez’ points total from last season either now or at the end of last season, won’t be a definitive proof of success compared to Rafa.

This season should have seen Newcastle United more or less guaranteed top half and competing for the top eight if Mike Ashley belatedly allowed some decent spending in the transfer market, to build on the team/squad that ended last season.

That was the scenario whoever would be in charge.

Honestly, would anybody be saying now, isn’t Rafa Benitez doing well four points better off compared to last season, after an £80m spend in 2019 on the front three?

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