Benitez has given Newcastle hope of avoiding relegation: Shearer

Newcastle, April 20 (IANS) Manager Rafael Benitez has given Newcastle United a lifeline in the English Premier League (EPL) but he should have been brought in earlier, former club forward Alan Shearer said.

Benitez took over in March and has now helped his team move two points clear of the relegation zone after a 1-1 draw against Manchester City.

“There is a now a little bit of hope where there wasn’t a few weeks ago,” Shearer was quoted as saying by the BBC on Wednesday.

“They should have got him in earlier. If they’d done that, I don’t think we’d be in this position.”

Shearer, who scored a record 206 goals for Newcastle over 10 seasons, said Benitez has been able to change the mood around St James’ Park.

“Certainly on Tuesday’s evidence and on Saturday’s, there’s now a togetherness,” Shearer said. “The fans appreciate now that the players are giving everything.”

The former England forward also praised Benitez for the team selection adding that players like Aleksandar Mitrovic and Jonjo Shelvey deserve to be sidelined.

“He’s changed it and he deserves credit for that,” Shearer said.

“It’s taken him a while to understand his players, but he’s left big players out. Aleksandar Mitrovic is out, Jonjo Shelvey is out. They’re out for a reason. They’ve not given enough to the team.”

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