Benitez and Carragher together at Liverpool.

Jamie Carragher backs Rafa Benitez to win trophies at Newcastle

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Jamie Carragher has heaped praise on new Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez, and believes he's the man to end the club's silverware drought.

Benitez, who was in charge of Real Madrid at the start of the season, was named as Steve McClaren's successor on Friday and has been charged with saving Newcastle from relegation with ten games to go.

Although the Spanish boss has penned a three-year contract at St. James' Park, it contains a release clause that allows him to walk away in the summer if they do go down.

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Carragher insists there's no reason to worry however, and even went as far as to claim Benitez is the best manager Newcastle have had since Sir Bobby Robson.

"The fans shouldn't be concerned, not at all. For any Newcastle fan, forget the next three years, focus on the next 10 games," the former Liverpool defender-turned-pundit said. "If you're a fan and Newcastle went down, you wouldn't want Rafa, you'd want someone that has experience in that league and has success in that league. Rafa won't want to be there.

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"It works perfectly for both parties; if he keeps them up, it'll be a great appointment over the next three or four years and hopefully he can get Newcastle back up the table I think the next 10 games are all that matters for everyone involved.

"I think for Newcastle, it's a fantastic appointment to get a manager of that calibre. I think over the last decade, you'd have to go back to Bobby Robson [to find someone] who has won that many honours."


Real Madrid CF v Real Sociedad de Futbol - La Liga

Benitez enjoyed a successful stint in charge of Liverpool, culminating in winning the Champions League in dramatic style in 2005. He also helped Valencia to the Spanish league crown in 2003/04, and Carragher admits it will be interesting to see his former boss at the wrong end of the table.

"I can't remember ever seeing Rafa at this end of the table," Carragher said. "That's why I'm interested in seeing how he goes about it. That's why I'm interested in seeing how he manages, how he prepares his players.

"Motivation? That's not Rafa's biggest strength. He will look at how they suffer tactically. Rafa was probably the best I had with setting up a back four. There's probably going to be a lot of repetition and he won't apologise for that.


"Those players will work hard - whoever they're playing, it will be a difficult game for them. It won't be the open expansive style the fans want, for now he will be focusing on trying to make Newcastle difficult to beat."

Benitez has already taken his first training session as Newcastle boss and will oversee his first game against Leicester on Monday.

Do you think Benitez will be able to save Newcastle from relegation and guide them up the table?

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Alan Shearer
Premier League
Newcastle United
Jamie Carragher

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