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27th Dec 2017

Rafa Benitez deserves credit for his reaction to question over Newcastle penalty

Conan Doherty

It’s not easy.

You lose 1-0 to one of the best teams the Premier League has ever seen, you’re newly-promoted and you’re being asked about the type of football your team has just produced.

Rafa Benitez could just as easily have been your typical, grumpy, sharp manager in his post-match press conference when the wounds are still fresh and, not only that, the what ifs are right in the mind too.

For as depressing as Newcastle’s intent was, they had a few chances and they also had a second half penalty shout.

That penalty shout though was pretty audacious.

Dwight Gayle knocks the ball away from goal and across Danilo and goes down waiting for a foul that never came.

The ref saw it, most people saw it coming a mile off, and the Newcastle player was brandished a yellow card instead of a penalty with 15 minutes to go.

And, as indisputable as it was, we’ve heard worse from managers after incidents like this, coming out and defending the indefensible.

But Rafa Benitez wasn’t in the mood to tolerate any of that nonsense.

Asked afterwards if he thought it was a foul, the Spaniard shook his head as the question was being asked and simply replied:

“No. I don’t think so.”

It was as easy as that. Gayle was in the wrong. Newcastle had no reason to feel aggrieved and the manager drew a firm line under it.

It would’ve been easier to be vague about, mischievous, talk about more general hard-done-by points.

Benitez wasn’t interested. Other managers should learn from him.


Rafa Benitez