Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pressure? What Pressure? Benitez Is Remaining Cool, Calm and Collected; STRAIN ISN'T SHOWING DESPITE POOR START

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pressure? What Pressure? Benitez Is Remaining Cool, Calm and Collected; STRAIN ISN'T SHOWING DESPITE POOR START

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK DOUGLAS mark.douglas@reachplc.com @MsiDouglas

RAFA Benitez retains faith and confidence in his methods and players despite Newcastle United's troubling start to the Premier League season.

Benitez - the man who his entourage say "carries the flag" for the club, in a reference to his importance to the mood on Tyneside and the responsibility that lies on his shoulders - cuts a calm figure on the training ground despite three defeats from the first four matches of a season that looks set to be a repeat of last season's scrap for survival by any means.

With Arsenal, a potential tough trip to Crystal Palace, then Leicester and Manchester United to come Newcastle will have played six of last season's top nine by September 29.

That would be an incredibly challenging start for any club, but for one that has entered the new season under a cloud of close-season politicking and discontent it is even harder - especially given the fact Newcastle have barely improved their squad.

Slow starts to their Premier League campaigns are nothing new at St James' Park - they lost the first two last term and had to wait until October 18 for the first win in 2014/15 and 2015/16.

SUB Such a long wait this time around would be unthinkable and Benitez knows the importance of injecting fresh confidence into the club. But if he is feeling the pressure, he is certainly not showing it.

"I think it is another game for us. We know that we have to start winning to keep the confidence of our players, our fans, and everyone," he said.

"The training sessions are fine, hopefully fingers crossed the players who are away on international duty will come back fit and right, and then we can work really hard next week trying to do that we did last year.

"Last year, what we did right was to approach every game with the same mentality: that we can get three Jonjo points from every match, and that's it."

HEADYYYYYY " Perhaps part of Benitez's confidence comes from the fact that the international break has given him the chance to work in-depth with many of his new arrivals. …

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