Monday 20 November 2017

Jamie Carragher: Rafa Benitez turned Liverpool into robots

Rafa Benitez with Jamie Carragher during Liverpool days
Rafa Benitez with Jamie Carragher during Liverpool days

Jamie Carragher has warned Newcastle that Rafael Benitez will attempt to turn them into 'robots' in order to salvage their Premier League status.

Benitez replaced Steve McClaren as manager earlier this month and has nine games to save the Tynesiders, who lie second from bottom in the table.

His side face Sunderland - one point above them - tomorrow in a huge Tyne-Wear derby, having lost their first game under Benitez's control at Leicester.

There were signs of better discipline and organisation in that match, however, and Carragher - who played under Benitez throughout his six-year spell at Anfield - believes the Spaniard will try and make them even more obdurate as the weeks go on.

Writing in his column in the Daily Mail, Carragher said: "Teams hated playing against us [at Liverpool]. The games would be horrible for the opposition because we would not give them any space to breathe.

"If you asked me to say the one word I heard most during training and games, it would be him shouting ‘compact’.

"After the first year of working with Rafa, we were like robots. By that I mean we knew exactly what he wanted us to do and when to do it.

"This came about through repetition on the training ground, the drills being done over and over again until he was satisfied.

"It demanded a high level of concentration and there was no laughing or joking. Newcastle’s players will have realised what is in store for them, given that he has cancelled all days off until the end of the season, whereas they could expect a midweek break under Steve McClaren."

Carragher is not convinced, however, that Benitez has enough time to save Newcastle from tumbling into the Championship.

"Rafa was intense and you had to be prepared for him to physically push and pull you into the positions, but the results followed," he wrote.

"As I said, though, it took 12 months for us to really understand his methods and we had much better players. Will Newcastle feel the benefit within two months?"

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