Isaac Hayden’s revealing insight into Rafa Benitez’s relationship with his Newcastle players

Isaac Hayden
Isaac Hayden
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Isaac Hayden says the secret of Newcastle United’s rise to the top of the Championship is simple – Rafa Benitez.

The club leads the division by three points with a third of the campaign gone.

Everyone sits there and listens to what the manager is saying, because we believe in him. We all buy into what he is saying, and that shows when we go out on to the pitch.

Isaac Hayden

Newcastle equalled last season’s 37-point haul in the Premier League at the weekend when they recorded an seventh success league victory.

And midfielder Hayden, signed from Arsenal in the summer, has paid tribute to Benitez, who has the full “respect” of the players.

“Everyone is confident everyone knows and respects what the manager is saying,” said the 21-year-old.

“Everyone sits there and listens to what the manager is saying, because we believe in him. We all buy into what he is saying, and that shows when we go out on to the pitch.

“For as long as we do that, then we will always have a great chance.

“We always want to win every game, whether it is Barcelona, Manchester United or Barnsley.”

Benitez has instilled a winning mentality at a club which had become accustomed to losing up to his arrival late last season.

“We want to win every game,” said Hayden, in the England Under-21 squad for Thursday night’s game against Italy in Southampton.

“I think that we are on a great run of results, but that means nothing at the moment, because we can’t win the league at this stage. We can’t win the league by winning the next game.

“It is just about getting the results over the season to get us where we want to be. We are focused on each individual game.”

Newcastle, eight points ahead of third-placed Huddersfield Town in the Championship, have won have their last eight games in all competitions.

But Hayden said: “I don’t personally think I look at the run at all.

“It sounds nice to say we have won eight in a row, but at the moment we can’t get promoted by winning eight games in a row and we could lose the next one

“It’s about each individual game, and we have to prepare for every game as they come along.”

Newcastle’s next game is a November 20 fixture against Leeds United at a sold-out Elland Road.