Rafa Benitez can do no wrong at newcastle and there are plenty of reasons why Newcastle fans feel so strongly about their manager.
For starters, he’s stuck with the club through thick and thin. More thin in the past six months, it has to be said.
Other managers – not even of the same calibre of Benitez – would have got sick of Mike Ashley by now and left the troubles behind.
However, he has got one thing wrong in his time at St James’ Park – Aleksandar Mitrovic.
It might be easy to see that we’re being after-timers, but Mitrovic always showed signs that he was head and shoulders above the likes of Joselu and even Dwight Gayle.
Since his January move to the Championship he’s been firing goals in for fun for Fulham – and they love him already after scoring seven in his last five games.
He could be firing Fulham towards the Premier League.
But it’s not a fluke – he’s got 11 in 33 games for Serbia.
The real issue seems to be the relationship between him and Benitez, and it seems that this stems from his ill discipline.
However, Benitez managed to work around this with Jonjo Shelvey and he ran the show on Saturday in the 3-0 win against Southampton.
If he’d been able to do the same with Mitrovic the club might not be in the farcical state it is now when it comes to strikers… Two that aren’t good enough for the Premier League and one that isn’t fit enough.
It’s not too late though.
Benitez has left the door open for a return, saying in the Chronicle: “There are two ways to analyse this. One is Mitrovic is scoring goals in the Championship. It’s good news for him and us.
“Two, he is playing before the World Cup and he is our player. We then have to discuss his future in May.
“In May we will see and if he is doing well, fine no problem.”
No player is bigger than the club. But surely manager and player can find a way to work together if it’s for the best for Newcastle? After all, no manager is bigger than the club either.
The ball’s in Benitez’s court and he must act to stop the rot before it’s too late.
In other Newcastle news, ‘Outstanding’, ‘Unreal’, ‘Credit to the badge’ – Newcastle fans salute striker after official update