Ian Wright believes that any pundit criticising Rafa Benitez for his tactics is completely in the wrong.
Writing in his column for the Sun, the former Arsenal striker explained how the value of the club’s squad is incomparable to Chelsea’s:
“Each player in a blue shirt cost an average of EIGHT times more than their counterpart. With a stat like that, you have to ask yourself how Toon are expected to compete.”
“Last season — one when many tipped them to go straight back down to the Championship — Benitez led them to tenth, which makes him a football miracle-worker in my book.”
He then criticised Mike Ashley’s lack of spending this summer:
“In May, owner Mike Ashley vowed “every penny generated” by the club would go to the manager for strengthening. That’s £123million from their finishing position and TV money for starters.”
“On top of that, they also made a net profit of almost £30m in transfers this summer — yet Rafa only had around £40m to spend.”
It’s a shame that Wright is one of the few pundits in the mainstream media who have come to Rafa’s defence over the past few days.
Of course, the main difference is that you can see the Sun columnist has actually done his research, unlike many on TV who have very little background knowledge about what is going on at the club.
There is a certainly a case to be made that Rafa was too negative against the Blues on Sunday, but as the manager says himself, you can only work with the tools that you have been given. As Wright rightly points out, the Spaniard worked wonders getting this squad to a mid-table finish last season.