By Amir Mir

Ian Holloway believes Newcastle and manager Rafa Benitez have removed the “losing mentality” at the club this season.

The Championship side were relegated into the second-tier last term, winning nine league games and losing 19 out of a possible 38 fixtures.

However, this season their fortunes have changed, with former Real Madrid and Liverpool boss Benitez masterminding seven wins in 11 league games this season.

As a result they currently sit third in the Championship table with 17 points and former Premier League manager Holloway believes they will now prove to be an even bigger threat to their Championship opponents.

“Newcastle and Rafa Benitez have achieved a very difficult thing this season: removing the disappointment and losing mentality from the club,” Holloway wrote in his Sky Sports column.

“That philosophy is definitely coming through on his players. They look like a team that are enjoying the challenge the Championship brings.

“The rest of the division needs to watch out as this team could go on a huge winning run at any stage of the season.”

Benitez joined the club in March, replacing the sacked Steve McClaren, but the Spaniard could not prevent their relegation into the Championship.

He has guided them to nine victories out of their last 11 fixtures in all competitions, keeping seven clean sheets in the process.

The Magpies host high-flying Brentford on Saturday afternoon, with Dean Smith’s side two points outside the play-off places as they travel to St James’ Park.

In other Newcastle team news, supporters have reacted hilariously on Twitter as Steve McClaren has re-joined their rivals.