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Opinion: Time for Rafael Benitez to raise his game

Aaron Gales
ANALYST
Feature
02 Oct 2018, 19:52 IST

Newcastle United v Leicester City - Premier League
Time for Rafa Benitez to raise his game

At the end of yet another defeat for Newcastle United against Leicester City, boos rang down from the crowd, who had witnessed yet another toothless performance.

With owner Mike Ashley making a rare appearance, much of the fan's anger was rightly directed at the owner, who is seemingly intent on running the club into the ground.

But he wasn't the only one to feel the disappointment of the fans.

For the first time during his two and a half year reign at the club, the performance of the manager Rafael Benitez started to come under scrutiny.

The moment came in the 65th minute when he inexplicably chose to remove the only player who ever looks capable of creating anything, Matt Ritchie, and replace him with the hapless Jacob Murphy.

Ritchie was rightly miffed when DeAndre Yedlin informed him that he was the player that was being substituted.

There were a number of others who should have been hooked before Ritchie. Joselu was awful, Ayoze Perez seems unable to locate the form that he found at the end of last season and the less said about the hapless Christian Atsu the better.

Benitez is handsomely paid to make the decisions but I think you could have asked 52,000 other people in the ground and not one person would have made the same choice.

Don't get me wrong - Ashley has let down Benitez on numerous occasions. The summer transfer window was an absolute disaster for Newcastle, which has left them completely devoid of any attacking threat.

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In truth, the Spaniard seems to be at best sulking, or at worst given up. Compare his attitude with that of managers like Mauricio Pochettino and Sean Dyche. Tottenham didn't sign a single player while Burnley, on the brink of their first European campaign in half a century, also failed to strengthen.

Have they moaned? On the contrary they've got on with the job. After a recent wobble Spurs are starting to move through the gears while back to back wins in the league have lightened the mood at Turf Moor.

Benitez doesn't seem to have any answers. The club are in the relegation zone and confidence among the players looks shot. Something needs to change.

The manager can't do anything until January so he needs to roll up his sleeves, get on with the job and prove that he deserves the adulation given to him by the fans of Newcastle United.

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