Rafa Benitez reveals the inside story of his day managing Newcastle – from his sofa

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez.

Talk about bad timing.

Rafa Benitez, unable to travel to the Liberty Stadium, was sat down on his sofa at his family home on Merseyside.

Newcastle United had just kicked off against Swansea City. And Benitez was watching intently.

But last Sunday was a stormy day. And the satellite signal was lost.

Benitez, having been unable to travel to South Wales earlier in the day, was already frustrated.

There had been a plan in place for Benitez, still feeling sick after a recent operation, to take a helicopter to Swansea, which Newcastle won 1-0.

There was a storm, and Sky was not working. Three or four minutes had gone. My daughter went in the other room to see if the television was working.

Rafa Benitez

However, he hadn’t been well enough to make the journey and he instead issued instructions by telephone.

“On the day of the game I was checking the weather, the wind, in Liverpool in Swansea, checking everything and my daughter was helping (and saying) ‘oh, it’s windy, oh it’s 30 miles an hour’,” said Benitez, whose side take on Stoke City at St James’s Park tomorrow.

“Then during the morning I was talking to Lee (Charnley, United’s managing director), because (owner) Mike Ashley offered the helicopter.

“I was talking to Lee preparing everything just incase. After I was talking with to the pilot. I was asking how windy it would be.

“Antonio (Gomez Perez, United’s first-team coach) was saying ‘oh, it’s very windy here!’.

“Everything was prepared. Everybody was doing their part to be sure that I could cope. Everything was arranged and everything was prepared.

“Little by little I was a bit more sick. Normally, early in the morning, I was a bit sick.

“I said if I go, with the helicopter, and then the car, and then one hour in the stadium I was laid down all the time and I feel sick, then I’ll be a problem more than a solution. I said forget about that.

“I was sure the television was ready, and then there was a storm and it was like ‘woah!’. Sky was not working. Three or four minutes had gone.

“My daughter went in the other room to see if the television was working.”

A second-half goal from captain Jamaal Lascelles gave United a deserved win at the Liberty Stadium.

Asked how he celebrated the goal, Benitez said: “I cannot do too many things.

“I couldn’t move. I was cheering. I was writing things down, but I could not move. I was happy when he slid in to block the shot on he line.

“It’s more difficult to be fair. When you are down there in the dugout, you go out and you move around and you shout and say silly things.

“When you are there, just be careful.

“My daughter was laughing, she was telling me one time to calm down when we were counter attacking.”

There was some welcome “relief” for Benitez at the final whistle when Mike Jones blew his whistle

Benitez said: “I felt relief – and I felt much better.”