As reported by the Chronicle, Alan Shearer has been sharing his thoughts on Rafa Benitez in a recent interview with Coral.
On Benitez said: “I think he’s doing an excellent job,”
“It was a tough start for the first two games; but since then some wins have settled the team down, settled the area down because there was a lot of question marks around.
“He’s done an excellent job, they’re still sitting up there in the table.
“It always has been, and is, their priority to get back to the Premier League.”
The former Newcastle and England captain added: “I’m still confident in Newcastle,”
“Their main objective has to be getting back into the Premier League, and I’m sure it is.
However, Shearer made it plain that he felt another of his former teams were better than Newcastle when they recently met: “I went to the Newcastle-Blackburn game at St James’ Park and they were pretty poor.
“Blackburn were the better team, Blackburn deserved to win, Rafa changed the team around from the team that won so impressively at Leeds the weekend beforehand and that back-fired.
Clearly though, Shearer, like many Newcastle supporters, was excited by the sides run the EFL Cup: “But, then again, I thought: ‘Well at least we’ve now got one manager who’s taking cup competitions seriously.’
“That hasn’t always been the case here over the last few years.
“But then you go to Hull on Tuesday evening, played well and created chances, but didn’t take them.
“Then they got the goal, went 1-0 up in extra-time and then it all sort of backfired after that.
“If you don’t take chances, you don’t win games. And the penalties, they were pretty poor.
“I’ve been in a situation with penalties – I wouldn’t ever criticise a player when it comes to penalties – but the penalties that the players took were pretty poor and we’ve been knocked out of another competition that they would have had a reasonable chance in.”