New­cas­tle

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE -

Star man Rob El­liot

New­cas­tle’s third­choice goal­keeper and had been told to find a new club last sum­mer, but he was su­perb when thrust into first-team ac­tion fol­low­ing in­juries to Tim Krul and Karl Dar­low. He would have started for Ire­land in the Euros, only to suf­fer a se­ri­ous knee in­jury of his own.

What went right

New­cas­tle fi­nally ap­pointed a proper man­ager in Rafa Benítez, be­lat­edly sack­ing the hap­less Steve McClaren af­ter just six league wins in March. The prob­lem is he was only given 10 games in charge.

What went wrong?

Pretty much ev­ery­thing from the mo­ment Steve McClaren was ap­pointed as a head coach rather than a man­ager. New­cas­tle spent a for­tune, but spent it badly and McClaren was hope­lessly out of his depth from the start.

Lame duck Flo­rian Thau­vin

A favourite of chief scout Gra­ham Carr, the winger ar­rived for £12 mil­lion in the sum­mer to re­place an­other light­weight French wide­man in Rémy Ca­bella. Thau­vin was ut­terly in­ef­fec­tive, could not cross a ball and had lit­tle pace. Re­turned to France in Jan­uary.

What’s the ver­dict on Rafael Benítez?

Benítez has been mak­ing en­cour­ag­ing noises about pos­si­bly stay­ing but it may just be an at­tempt to make a soft ex­trac­tion as he knows how much the sup­port­ers like him.

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