'It's entirely his fault': Richard Keys slams Rafa Benitez after Newcastle's winless start

Richard Keys has launched another explosive rant at Rafa Benitez
Richard Keys has launched another explosive rant at Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez has once again been the subject of criticism from TV personality Richard Keys.

The Bein Sports host, alongside pundits Andy Gray and John Collins, engaged in a heated debate over the club's start to the season after a goalless draw with Crystal Palace left the Magpies still searching for a first win of the Premier League campaign after a tricky run of opening fixtures.

Benitez has come in for criticism from several quarters during the early weeks of the season with his tactics perceived to be too defensive - despite some fine rearguard displays against several of the league's leading sides.

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And Gray, who had been largely critical of Benitez in recent weeks, felt that neither Benitez nor owner Mike Ashley could fully shoulder the blame for the club's current predicament.

"It isn't Rafa Benitez's fault and it isn't Mike Ashley's fault, it's probably a combination of both," he admitted.

"Rafa would say 'I'm doing this' and Mike Ashley would say 'I'm doing that'.

Keys, however, disagreed and replied: "But Ashley doesn't put the team out, does he?"

That began a strong debate, with Gray responding: "No he doesn't, and that's what I'm getting to.

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"Every coach has a different way of coaching.

"We agree, John, that if there was a different coach at Newcastle, with a different attitude, they would play more aggressive, passionate, progressive football."

But Keys again offered a reply, and seemed to indicate the blame should fully lie with Benitez.

"So we can finger Benitez then?," he asked.

"It's entirely his fault, it's his team."

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Also present during the debate was Collins, a former Scottish international midfielder who spent time in the dugout with Hibernian and Belgian side Charleroi.

At this point, he interjected with praise for the success Benitez has enjoyed throughout his managerial career - although Keys suggested this was based on 'grinding' out results rather than playing entertaining football.

Keys, 61, then suggested that a lack of entertainment was why the Spaniard lost his job at Real Madrid after just seven months.