With multiple signings of talented players, Steve McClaren still managed to make it impossible for Newcastle United to get to safety from relegation. With minimal signings of players suited more towards the Championship and backup status in the Premier League, Newcastle United is sitting at 13th after having just beat Manchester United.
Sometimes it isn’t the talent on the team, but who’s managing it. Because everyone on this team has significant strengths. McClaren could never get the best out of them, while Benitez has managed to push these players to their absolute best week in and week out.
The win percentage under Steve McClaren was a poor 22.6%. Whereas under Benitez the percentage is 47.3%.
The money spent under McClaren? £81.6m. That’s a solid number for one season, especially by Newcastle United standards. It gave a sense that the club was ready to back McClaren to the hilt and make sure he had what he needed to succeed. He actually did, and if Benitez had that talent under him today, the club would be much better off.
Under Benitez, in his first full season in charge the club spent £57m overall on players in Benitez’s first full season at the club and finished with £87m coming in for a profit of £30m. The club bought players more suited towards the Championship than the Premier League, and sold the Premier League worthy players. It was the most expensive transfer window under Benitez. In total, the club has spent £101.9m throughout Benitez’s first two seasons as manager.
While anyone can state that Benitez is better than McClaren, Benitez’s only full season with the club was in the Championship, where he was easily the best manager of the best team. The Premier League is more of a challenge, and the way that he has handled it has been amazing.
When Rafa Benitez originally joined the club, I knew he had an uphill battle and was unsure how he would handle not being given proper assistance for transfers. That’s something he’s used to. With Liverpool, Inter Milan, and even Real Madrid, having the financial resources to get him who he needed. That was never going to be the case at Newcastle United.
He’s shown his class as a manager in that he doesn’t need significant financial backing to keep his club fighting. This project of his will succeed. There is no doubt in my mind that if Newcastle United is sold and he is given backing, that the club will win the Premier League under this man.