With the season entering the business end of a bitter relegation battle, I give my two cents on why I think Newcastle will beat the drop.
1. The man in charge
The first and most important reason is the man spearheading this operation, Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard deserves a huge amount of credit this season as most managers would have this squad stone dead bottom. Being 16th in the league (at the time of writing) isn’t horrific. Then when you compare Benitez to other managers in the bottom 10; Pardew, Moses, Pellegrino etc; I think he is definitely the best out of all of them. Benitez has got players like Diame and Dummett putting in top quality performances and the dressing room atmosphere he’s created has been key.
2. The captain
Another individual who deserves a lot of quality is captain Jamaal Lascelles. The young English centre-back first came onto the scene two years ago with a mature interview after a disgraceful away performance against Southampton. The next season Lascelles became captain and carried on the armband into this season. Lascelles is a very influential figure in the dressing room and keeps the defence held together; just look at performances where he plays versus when he doesn’t play. While only being 24, Lascelles cares for the club and knows what it means to wear the black and white stripes.
3. The dressing room atmosphere
One thing that sets Newcastle apart from other clubs in the relegation battle is the atmosphere in the dressing room. Quotes like this shows the belief and confidence the players have. The players have the confidence to attack teams like Manchester United when they come to St James’ Park. This is not like other clubs who may be scared when approaching important matches, this is what sets Newcastle apart from other clubs.