Newcastle made it three wins on the bounce to pretty much secure their place in next season’s Premier League, but was there ever really anything to worry about?
When the Magpies were promoted back to the top flight, the talk immediately turned to ‘how well will they do in the Premier League with Rafa?’, but a rough spell over Christmas saw Newcastle linger near the relegation zone, inciting panic from some fans.
However, Rafa Benitez appeared to remain calm throughout, and when the opportunities arose, got the necessary results against teams around us to ensure he would not have a second relegation with Newcastle on his CV.
The past three victories have all but sealed Newcastle’s survival, and they have gone from some people’s relegation favourites to a possible top half finish, such is the gap between the teams in the bottom two thirds of the top flight of English football.
With Benitez at the helm, it should never have been a worry for Newcastle fans. This is a man who has won the Champions League. Keeping a team like Newcastle up should be a walk in the park for the former Liverpool gaffer. Benitez deserves all the praise coming his way, turning Newcastle from a laughing stock to a club with hope, as he leads the charge for normality at St James’ Park.
While it will be Benitez who takes most of the plaudits, the players also deserve their fair share of praise, despite being criticised even in victory this season. Constantly, Newcastle’s current crop of stars have been reminded they’re ‘not good enough’ or a ‘Championship team’, which could not be further from the truth.
It might not be the most talented Newcastle team in history, but it is certainly one with enough about it to be deemed Premier League quality, and that is not just because of the world class manager at their disposal.
It certainly looked precarious at one point in the season, but there should never have been any doubt that Newcastle United would be a Premier League club in 2018/19.