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TT Battles: Rafa Benitez vs Nuno

Nuno Espírito Santo’s high-flying Wolverhampton Wanderers host Rafael Benitez’s survival hopeful Newcastle United this weekend in what’s shaping up to be quite a tasty affair.

Wolves, who have done remarkably well to reach 7th place, have won their last three Premier League games and will be confident of making it four, whilst Newcastle are likely still high from their 2-1 victory over Manchester City.

There’s no doubt that both managers have worked wonders for their respective teams – but who’s done better?

Rafael Benitez

We must give credit to Rafael Benitez for his commitment to Newcastle United.

He’s overseen a season in the Championship, which is way below his paygrade, and is now trying tirelessly to keep his team in the English top-flight on a very limited budget. An almost impossible task in the modern game.

An award alone should be given to the Spaniard for working alongside Mike Ashley who, until recently, seemed intent on holding a rather worrying record (longest time without breaking a transfer record).

His style, much like his counterparts, relies on stout defensive work and quick counter-attacking play – a strategy that can often cause problems for the big teams, but rarely works for those intent on sitting back themselves.

TT Rating: A-

Nuno Espírito Santo

Nuno Espírito Santo is relatively new to the managerial game but has done so well to adapt his team to the tough demands of Premier League football.

He’s already taken down a number of ‘bigger sides’, including the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United, and it seems like he’s only just starting.

Wolves haven’t come to the Premier League to merely survive by playing boring, overly defensive football – they’ve come to make an impact.

Espírito Santo has truly done a great job.

TT Rating: A

TT Verdict:

It’s an incredibly close one but Nuno Espírito Santo just pips it for his efforts this year.

Rafael Benitez is an incredible manager, there’s no doubting that, but Wolves’ climb to the 7th place is nothing short of remarkable, and the style in which they’ve done is refreshing.

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