Matt Scott shared he didn’t understand why people thought Rafa Benitez had done a fantastic job at Newcastle United and claimed they’d probably finish in a similar position in the league without him.
The broadcaster, sometimes heard on talkSPORT 2 and talkSPORT, claimed he felt like a complete outlier as everyone seemed to think the Spanish manager had done well at St James Park, but he implied that Benitez had simply guided a mid-table side to a mid-table finish.
Scott claimed that he didn’t imagine there being much change at the Magpies during life after Benitez and even claimed he didn’t think fans would abandon the club.
“I don’t think he had done a fantastic job, I seem to be a complete outlier here in the world of football,” said Scott on talkSPORT (13:54, Sunday June 30th).
“Everyone has been admiring him for keeping Newcastle in the Premier League, they are a mid-table side, that’s what they’re set up, that is the team they are putting out.
“If you compare them with the three teams that went down, of course, they will finish where they have been.
“Whoever comes in will get a little bit of support like Benitez has had, and it will be exactly the same outcome.
“If Rafa goes, we go, I think you’ll find no changes.”
Scott is surely naive to make this claim before knowing who Benitez’s successor is.
The Spanish manager averaged an impressive 1.48 points per game across the 146 matches he was in charge of at St James Park, and that simply can’t be put down to him piggybacking off a ready-made team.
When Benitez took over the Magpies, they were one point from safety in the Premier League with 10 games left, so isn’t their recent success down to him?
The Magpies may have gotten relegated that season with Benitez going on to instantly winning promotion back from the Championship in style, but he then led them to a very respectable 10th place in the 2017/18 campaign and 13th place finish in the 2018/19 season in the Premier League.
Benitez did this without the Magpies going wild in the transfer market as ahead of the January window just gone, Sky Sports pointed out that Benitez had spent £124m as Newcastle manager, recouping £164m, which gave him a £40m profit during his time in charge.
So that hardly saw the Magpies keep pace with the others in the league, so how can Scott claim the Magpies are a mid-table side while not crediting how Benitez has made them that way by getting the best out of certain players?
So could any manager do that? Could the likes of David Moyes, Steve Bruce or Sean Dyche, all mooted as potential options by the Telegraph, all get the same out of the squad that Benitez did? It’s surely not a guarantee.
Given that the Magpies could be set for a downward spiral with Benitez gone if they make the wrong appointment, these comments may resurface to haunt Scott come the end of the 2019/20 season.