Newcastle United supporters in the Transfer Tavern have been drowning their sorrows in recent times after seeing their side knocked out of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
Rafa Benitez’s men made the trip south to Championship outfit Nottingham Forest looking to record their first win of the campaign, having lost two and drawn the other of their opening three Premier League matches. But the Magpies were second-best at the City Ground on Wednesday as goals from Daryl Murphy, Matty Cash, and Gil Dias sealed a comfortable win for the hosts, with Salomon Rondon’s late equaliser not enough to inspire a comeback from the North East heavyweights.
Thus, there have been many frustrated and disappointed Newcastle fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments by former defender Steve Howey on Sky Sports’ The Debate programme on Wednesday night, in which he stated that manager Benitez is ‘working with his hands [tied] behind his back’.
"It is absolute nonsense"
Former Newcastle defender Steve Howey launched an impassioned defence of Rafa Benitez and the Toon fans on The Debate
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 30, 2018
And in further defending the Magpies chief, the ex-Newcastle man is absolutely spot on regarding the job Benitez is doing at St James’ Park.
Ultimately, the Spaniard deserves huge credit for sticking with the club following their relegation to the Championship back in 2017, with the former Chelsea chief then leading the Magpies back to the top-flight at the first time of asking – not many other top-quality managers would have happily dropped down into the second tier.
And in getting Newcastle back into the Premier League, the hope from some fans would have been for the club to seriously move forward so they are not in the perilous position of going down once again – but little over 12 months on, the Magpies appear to once again be in a relegation dog-fight.
But it was Benitez’s efforts last term that helped the North East heavyweights record a mightily impressive tenth place finish in the top tier, with the Spaniard able to get the very best out of his team on a regular basis – the likes of Ayoze Perez, Jamaal Lascelles, and Jonjo Shelvey shone under his guidance last season.
But it is painfully obvious to many, not least Magpies fans, that the Newcastle squad is still lacking quality in some areas to take them beyond that tenth place finish, but with just a handful of additions over the summer, Benitez doesn’t really have much a chance in improving that finishing position.
Ultimately, several clubs in the Premier League would absolutely love to have someone of the calibre of Benitez managing their team – the manager is there, the infrastructure is there, but the Spaniard is being held back by owner Mike Ashley in terms of trying to take Newcastle back to its former glories. He has no chance.
As such, Howey’s defence of the Newcastle boss, even if the North East heavyweights did meekly bow out of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, is absolutely spot on.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!