Kevin Nolan's wrong about one thing at Newcastle United
Kevin Nolan wasn’t short of an opinion during his playing career.
And the former Newcastle United midfielder has been shooting from the lip as a pundit while he waits for the right managerial opportunity.
Nolan, working for a Malaysian TV station, was at Anfield on Saturday to see Steve Bruce’s side beaten 3-1 by Liverpool, his boyhood club.
"Listen, I was up there just a week before the season started, and the place was buzzing," said Nolan. "There were smiles on faces.
“I went up there when Rafa was there, and no disrespect to Rafa, but it was a lot more dull and a lot more, you know, everything a bit so serious. I think Steve’s brought a smile back on the lads’ faces. They all seem to be enjoying training and they all seem to be together. The biggest thing I brought back from that week was that they all believed that this season, it's going to be tough, but they'll be OK. And they will be pushing for that top 10.”
Nolan’s comments provoked an online backlash on Tyneside.
Benitez, undoubtedly, was serious. He’s a serious football manager. And, maybe, Bruce has lightened the mood.
They’re different managers with different ways of working. Bruce is known as a good man-manager, something Jurgen Klopp touched upon in his programme notes.
Klopp, Liverpool’s manager, said: “Both Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson speak with great affection of the help he (Bruce) gave them in developing and progressing during their careers. The stories they tell make it clear this is a manager whose players believe in him and will fight for him.”
Benitez is a tactician, and a very, very good one at that. His record at Newcastle – and at some of the biggest clubs in European football – speak for itself.
All managers are judged on results. And those smiles on the faces of Bruce’s players won’t last if the team keeps losing games. Will they still buzzing in eight months time?
Nolan, however, was definitely wrong about one thing, though. It's NEVER dull at Newcastle.