Sky pundit Gary Neville has been discussing his contenders for Premier League manager of the season and, surprise surprise, he’s failed to even mention Rafa Benitez – choosing to credit the likes of Palace’s Roy Hodgson and Spurs’ Mauricio Pochettino instead.
It’s a game of opinions and his winner, Pep Guardiola, is a worthy one, but I was baffled to see him fail to even give Benitez a mention.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football earlier in the week, here’s what Neville had to say when asked who his manager of the year was – refusing to recognise Rafa’s miraculous work this season.
“Roy Hodgson deserves a mention for the job he has done at Crystal Palace; Sean Dyche comes very close; Mauricio Pochettino, given his spend, has achieved a level of consistency; and Jurgen Klopp has had a great season and if they go on to win the Champions League you could argue it could be him.
“Right now it’s Pep Gaurdiola for the outstanding football Man City have produced in winning the Premier League and the Carabao Cup. “
I love how he mentions Pochettino’s lack of spending. They’ve spent £110m since last summer, improving a side that was already mightily impressive. That’s almost treble the amount Rafa has spent over the past two windows – yet we NEEDED to improve our side after promotion.
No disrespect to Roy, who has done a brilliant job taking Palace from bottom of the pile to pushing the top 10, but Benitez has surely trumped his achievements this season?
Rafa’s not only kept us up, but taken what’s been called Championship into the top 10. Hodgson has done a great job, but they’re a side full of attacking flair, quality and experience, with Wilfred Zaha being a player who could easily play for a side in the top 6.
Just noticed @GNev2 had Roy Hodgson ahead of Rafa Benitez in MOTY nominations. He's done a good job. But how can you justify him getting ahead of Rafa? A more expensive squad including Wilfred Zaha. An established PL side. RB's achievement dwarfs his.
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) May 3, 2018
Dyche and Guardiola are worthy winners of this year’s award, but I’m really struggling how he could mention the likes of Hodgson, Klopp and Pochettino over Benitez.
You can’t call us a ‘Championship’ team playing in the Premier League when we’re struggling, then fail to recognise that we’re now in the top 10 and staying up quite comfortably. Poor.