A TV Pundit, Yesterday

I think it’s fair to say that most Newcastle United fans are walking around with a smile and a skip in our step at the moment having seen our team win three games on the bounce against established, middle of the table Premiership sides West Ham, Swansea and Stoke City.

It wasn’t always so.

Our one-season exhibition tour of the Championship, which we won, was expected to be followed by a summer of investment in top players to strengthen the squad in preparation for our return to the Premier League.

What followed was the usual tussle by the manager with a Newcastle owner who just doesn’t like spending money.

Gloom descended on the black and white masses as all of this became apparent, publicised by a gleeful London-based media with added suggestions, just for fun, that our world-class manager would walk.

However, claims that our “Championship squad” would go straight back down has left a lot of press and pundits alike with egg on their face as they view the league table this morning and see us sitting proudly in fourth place – above their beloved Arsenal and little Tottenham!

No, of course we won’t stay there, but the three wins so far this season have hopefully demonstrated that our current squad are well capable of holding their own in this league.

One man who never doubted the ability of our players was the manager himself, Rafa Benitez.

He told the Shields Gazette:

“The team has not really surprised me, because I watch them in training every day and they train well.”

“There are things we are not doing well, but I can see where we can improve. There are three or four things we can improve. The players are trying to understand the way we have to play our game.”

“We have to play with our own style of play. We are not a team that have a lot of possession, so we have to play to our strengths and we are doing that now.”

“Getting points on the board early gives you the confidence to do things.”

“When I came here, we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. Now, we know we have time to improve things. If we do make mistakes, we don’t need to panic and can carry on doing the things we have to do. The players will appreciate that.”

Of course, the biggest positive in all of this is the manager and his coaching staff, and their ability to continuously inspire, motivate and improve individual players, and therefore the team.

Anyone playing Newcastle United these days will have to realise that this is not a Championship-standard side for easy pickings.

We have some very good players energy and team spirit in abundance, managed via Rafa-standard tactics and organisation, and will give anybody a hard game.

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below (We use Disqus).

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