Rafael Benitez’s former assistant has claimed that it will be a ‘sporting miracle’ if the Spaniard keeps the Magpies in the Premier League this season.
Benitez’s team are currently two points above the drop zone in 15th, and Fabio Pecchia feels that his old boss is doing something extraordinary at St James’ Park.
“If he keeps Newcastle up again this season, he has pulled off a sporting miracle,” he told The Chronicle. “Now, the aim has to be to compete and move to a higher level. Bigger investments are needed.
“I don’t know if he will stay. He has a good connection with the club and he is loved by the fans, but he also wants to win things – and he knows how to do it,” he finished.
A sporting miracle might be going a bit too far. We have to remember that there are the likes of Cardiff City, Fulham and Huddersfield Town in the top flight this season, meaning that Newcastle simply have to be better than them to stay up. At the moment they are doing that and you have to back them to continue doing that until the end of the season. So while it would be a tremendous achievement for Benitez to keep his charges in the Premier League for another year, it certainly wouldn’t be a sporting miracle. What Pecchia says about Newcastle needing further investment, though, is true. Benitez isn’t going to continue to engage in relegation battles for years and years to come. He is a top class manager and at some point he needs to see progression from Newcastle as a club otherwise he will leave. He is ambitious like any other football manager and he knows from experience that he is good enough to win trophies in the right environment. So the task for Mike Ashley is essentially not to mess this one up. Just back Benitez enough to keep him around and hopefully the club will get sold in the meantime.