Friday, 3 November 2017

Rival Lines: Being Newcastle manager is not a difficult job

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Newcastle Utd v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Toon Bano
Twitter: @ToonBano


I had the pleasure of squeezing a few Rival Lines out of Bano at Toon Bano this week. He must be delighted with how Newcastle have started this season and the love for Rafa Beitez seems to know no boundaries up at St James Park.

CC: What has Benitez got right that other Newcastle Utd managers were unable to do?


TB: He has made a true effort to understand the club and its fans. He does something remarkable that not many other managers have done...actually listen to them. Genuis eh? Whenever he meets a fan, or someone from the media with links to the club, he asks them what they think of the team etc and listens. Being Newcastle manager is not as difficult a job as previous managers have made it. Just lock your ego in a drawer somewhere and understand the club properly, instead of making your own mind up through arrogance and ignorance.

CC: While Matt Ritchie has not been in the Scotland squad of late, would you say he is now the complete Premier League player?

TB: I am not sure what the 'complete' Premier League player is, how do you define it?, but he is definitely Premier League standard. I was as surprised as anyone to see him drop into the Championship to join us from yourselves but I am glad he did. He sets the benchmark in our team in terms of hard work and determination [Ed- That sounds like the complete PL player to me!]. He is a players' player and a manager's dream to work with.

CC: Christian Atsu is another former Bournemouth player although we saw little of him at Dean court. What would you say is his best strength?


TB: His pace. Easily. He has a bit of skill and can stick the ball in the net on his day but he can be frustrating at times. He is your typical winger. I remember him going to Bournemouth and was very surprised Eddie didn't use him more often before his injury cut his loan spell short.

CC: Mike Ashley has put Newcastle Utd up for sale which many fans have wanted but is the timing a bit awkward if you need funds in January and things have nit been sorted?


TB: Well, Mike Ashley doesn't do anything unless it's for self-gain. There will be a reason why he has decided to go public putting Newcastle up for sale but only he and his advisors will really know what that is. He did say he will give Rafa money to spend in January if he doesn't find a buyer but I will expect that to be very little.

CC: Jonjo Shelvey had a mad start to the season in the match against Spurs, getting an early red card, but has he calmed down now and started to play better?

TB: He has calmed down but I have said that before, Jonjo is the type of character that needs two, three or maybe more chances before he gets himself right in the head...and even then he still might not be completely right. Just when you think he is past his misdemeanours, he goes and does something ridiculous. He has always played well for us so there are no worries on that front.


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CC:  Have you been surprised a how easily the points have come for Newcastle so far this season?

TB: Well, they haven't come easy that's for sure but I am not surprised by our start. I was adamant at the start of the season that we were far better than some relegation fodder, with a team full of Championship players, that many were labelling us as That's is total nonsense. We have a few Championship standard players in and around the first XI but so do many clubs. Bournemouth included. Plus we have a world class manager. Only a handful of teams in the Premier League can say the same. Rafa is the key to everything. How anyone can say he would be relegated given a full season is beyond me.

CC:  Which defender has played best in the team so far?

TB: Most of them have been excellent this season but if you would pick one you would say captain Jamaal Lascelles, 23, has come of age this season. The youngest captain in the league and has been rock solid. He wasn't even in the first team at the start of the season believe it or not such is our strength at centre-back, but he is the first name on the team sheet now.

CC: Have Newcastle got any injuries ahead of this game?

TB: Mikel Merino has a back injury and a doubt for the game which is a blow for us. The young Spaniard has been phenomenal in midfield. He was so good we took the option to make his loan-deal permanent last month! No messing around. Paul Dummett has been out since the first game of the season and apart from that we have a pretty healthy squad.

CC: How do you think Newcastle will set up for the game?


TB: We will set up the same as we always do. 4-4-1-1 with Perez and Joselu defending from the front with two banks of four without the ball. We will look to frustrate your boys by plugging gaps and chasing everything down. This will be a very interesting game on Saturday. In Boxing, styles make fights, and the styles of these two teams is very different and a cracking match up.

CC: What is your score prediction?

TB: I have gone for us to sneak it 1-0 but this game could be anything. If your boys show up and play to their potential it will be a difficult game for us. We are all about staying organised and being very precise with our passing. One thing we definitely have over you though is at set-pieces. This could be the deciding factor as your boys HATE trying to defend them. Trust me, I see it every week!

CC: A great set of answers from Bano and I think he has give AFCB fans a good idea of what Newcastle are all about. This season I would say AFCB have been better at defending set-pieces bar the opening game against WBA, the problem has been in shooting frequently enough and on target. But the match up between these two teams will be fascinating if Bournemouth also line up as a 4-4-1-1 formation As I expect. It could be just like-for-like and individual battles I feel will decide the day. Bournemouth have shown they win games when they score twice but can they do it against a side being led by Rafa Benitez who is a tactical mastermind? Eddie has to be on top of his managerial game if he is to out whit Newcastle and Benitez.

Do check out Toon Bano where the Ginger Pirlo has his say on the Toon Army.

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