How Rafa Benitez is drawing inspiration from Dad's Army ahead of Newcastle's festive fixtures
Rafa Benitez is drawing inspiration from an unlikely source as he aims to lead Newcastle United up the Premier League table.
The Spaniard will reiterate to his squad a key message from the TV series ‘Dad’s Army’ - don’t panic.
After a slow start to the season, which saw the Magpies fail to win in their opening 11 matches, fortunes have improved of late.
Newcastle have won four of their last seven and enter the busy festive period fresh from another win at Huddersfield.
But ahead of a busy run of fixtures, Benitez has urged his players to once again following the lead of Corporal Jones in the sitcom and not panic.
He feels the start to the season - which sees the Tynesiders sat in 14th place - is what should have been expected given the early run of fixtures.
“It’s more or less what we could have expected,” he admitted.
“The problem for us was the timing when we were losing games at the beginning because we played against top sides.
“It could have been totally different, winning one game in between – Cardiff, where we missed a penalty in the last minute – and winning one of those games, it could have been totally different.
“But because we were losing these games, the mood was quite negative, but now it’s quite positive.
“But still we have to stay calm, don’t panic – like Dad’s Army – don’t panic and carry on doing your job because it’s a long, long season.”
Benitez knows there is a difficult run of fixtures coming up, but he is purely focusing on the visit of Fulham - before then turning his attention to trips to Liverpool and Watford.
“The top sides are so strong that when you have a bad run because you play two or three of them in a row, then everything seems difficult,” he said.
“Hopefully we can win tomorrow against Fulham and if we do that, then we have a very difficult run again and we’ll see what happens.”