Rafa Benitez has tactical master plan to beat Norwich, says Jonjo Shelvey

Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez

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Jonjo Shelvey has backed Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez to come up with a tactical master plan to beat Norwich City in their crunch relegation clash next weekend.

The Magpies travel to Carrow Road a week on Saturday to take on the Canaries.

The game is one of the biggest in the club’s recent history, with Newcastle sitting second bottom of the Premier League table, three points behind Norwich, who are just outside of the relegation zone.

It will be Benitez’s third game in charge of United after he replaced Steve McClaren, and the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss is still searching for his first victory after defeat against Leicester and the 1-1 draw with Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby.

Shelvey believes it’s a good time to take on Norwich, despite the Canaries winning at West Brom in their last encounter, and says Benitez – who he worked with at Liverpool – will have a game plan in place to return from East Anglia with all three points.

Shelvey said: “We got to Norwich after the international break and I think that’s our chance to really go and show what we’re about, and get three points.

“I’m sure Rafa will come up with a game plan because that’s what he does.

“He comes up with game plans and he’s a great organiser of teams.

“He got us going at half-time (against Sunderland) which is what we needed.

“I’m sure we will go to Norwich and give a good account of ourselves.”

Benitez has had little chance to work properly with the Newcastle squad since his appointment, but has already started to get his points across to the players.

The Spaniard is focusing solely on the first team, and has reportedly moved the fringe men and Under-21s to train on another pitch as he concentrates on working with the players who will be tasked with getting enough points over the next eight games to keep Newcastle in the top flight.

Shelvey – who missed out on a call-up to the England squad for their upcoming friendlies – believes the fortnight break for international games is no bad thing for Newcastle, as it will allow Benitez more time to work on the training ground.

“There will be a few double sessions coming up,” said the midfielder. “It’s a good chance to really knuckle down.

“We’ve not had much time since he came in because everything has been a bit rushed, so it will be nice to have a few weeks with him to get his ideas across properly.”