Christian Atsu reveals what it’s like to play for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle

Christian Atsu. Picture by Frank Reid
Christian Atsu. Picture by Frank Reid

Christian Atsu has given an insight into the man-management skills of Rafa Benitez.

Benitez has brought the best out of Atsu, who has been one of Newcastle United’s stand-out players so far this season.

We’re very happy to have him. He’s a great manager, and he’s looking after us very well.

Christian Atsu

Atsu, signed on a permanent deal from Chelsea last summer, said: “He loves us to play football and to be compact.

“He’s concerned about the players. He asks how we are feeling and how we are doing.

“He looks at us and sets up the training.

“We’re very happy to have him. He’s a great manager, and he’s looking after us very well.

“Aside from football, he’s a good man.”

Newcastle are 16th in the Premier League – and one point above the relegation zone – ahead of tomorrow’s home game against second-placed Manchester United.

“We know it will not be easy, because they have great quality in the team,” said Atsu.

“They have a great manager (Jose Mourinho) also, but we have a team and we’re focused.

“We know where we are in the league, so all the players are focused, working hard and concentrating on this game.”

Newcastle go into the game on the back of 1-1 draws against Crystal Palace and Burnley.

“When you see the two games we drew, we were almost there to win them,” said 26-year-old Atsu. “We’re almost there. We are giving everything. I know the fans will be behind us. We’re working hard and want to make them happy on Sunday.”

Man United came from behind to win 4-1 at Old Trafford in November.

Atsu said: “We scored first, we were good and then they took their chances. This is a different game.”

* Christian Atsu will host a gala dinner for Arms Around the Child at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead on March 14.

The fundraising event will combine the worlds of entertainment, football and business. For tickets and information, go to theblackstargala.eventbrite.co.uk.