Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez isn’t the sort of guy who’s going to gush after a home draw against a better side, but he came close following the Magpies’ 1-1 stalemate with his former club Liverpool on Sunday.
“When you get just one point at home we cannot be happy but against a top six like Liverpool, creating so many chances, you have to be a little bit happy,” Benitez said. “The way our players were working, tackling and trying to win every ball was fantastic.”
Okay, so clearly Benitez, a European champion, isn’t going to admit that his newly-promoted side should be fairly proud of its day on the home pitch.
As for his longtime love affair with Liverpool — Benitez even invited the leader of the Hillsborough inquest to be his guest of honor — the Spanish manager says he hopes to develop a similar vibe with the Tynesiders.
“Obviously my relationship with the Liverpool fans is very good. My relationship with Liverpool fans comes from years, here it is a fantastic relationship too and I am enjoying every minute.”
Despite losing at Huddersfield Town and Brighton, Newcastle has 10 points and three wins to start new life in the Premier League. Benitez has done it without the transfer backing he wanted this summer and Newcastle supporters will be hoping the rumored takeover bids are a reality to see what the “Rafalution” can become on Tyneside.