Former England striker and current broadcast pundit Gary Lineker has applauded Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez for the “magnificent job” that he has done with the Magpies this season.
The north east side entered 2018 facing a fight for survival at the bottom of the Premier League table but a resurgence in form, with just two defeats in the new year, pushing the club up to 10th, just behind Everton and ahead of Bournemouth.
Their latest positive result, Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal, saw Benitez and his men pick up their fourth consecutive victory, having beaten Southampton, Huddersfield and Leicester in recent weeks, and while not mathematically safe, seem a near-certainty to be in the top flight next season.
After the game, which was decided by goals from Ayoze Perez and Matt Ritchie, Lineker took to his personal Twitter account to pay credit to the Spanish boss, stating: “Well played Rafa Benitez. What a magnificent job he’s doing with @NUFC.”
Well played Rafa Benitez. What a magnificent job he’s doing with @NUFC ????????
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 15, 2018
Football Insider verdict
No one, not even the most optimistic of Newcastle supporters, could have predicted the run that the Magpies have gone on, but it is great to see the Toon Army cheering some success after so many years of hurt. Benitez has to take full credit for all the work that has been done to get the club in such a strong position, especially considering the lack of transfer expenditure the Spaniard had to work with. He has got his side fighting tooth and nail not just for every point, but for every second ball, loose pass and defensive contribution. The Magpies are looking like a tough team to beat, and who knows where this red hot form will see them finish.
In other Newcastle United news, the club are lining up a stunning move for a man voted best in the world.