Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has been named Premier League manager of the month for November.
Newcastle were 19th in the table at the start of November, with no wins from their first 10 games, before three straight victories moved them out of the relegation zone, and prompted a flood of money with the bookie, Comeon, on them staying in the Premier League this term.
The Magpies beat Watford 1-0 at home thanks to a goal from Ayoze Perez, and followed that up with a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth at St James’ Park, Salomon London grabbing a brace. They then completed a 100% record in November with an away win at Burnley.
It is the fifth time the Spaniard has won the Premier League manager of the month award.
“It’s always good to win trophies,” said Benitez, whose side currently sit 14th.
“Obviously I would like to win more manager of the months, then we would be in a better position in the table.
“But it’s always positive and it is good also for the staff. Everybody is helping you and it is an extra motivation.”
Benitez won’t be winning the award for December however, following three Premier League defeats in a row, against West Ham, Everton and home to Wolves, proving that the Spaniard still has work to do in finding the consistency that the Magpies require.
To this end, it was revealed this week that Newcastle have decided to cancel the Christmas party, a decision apparently made by both Benitez and club captain Jamaal Lascelles. This follows on from the cancellation of last years Christmas party too, also on the back of poor form running up to the festive period.
“When I was talking to Jamaal, I said, “If something is wrong, you have to realise”. I think he was quite sensible”, said Benitez. “They wanted to do it because it is a tradition for some players, especially in England. But I think they have been quite good and I think that the fans will appreciate that they are just focused on that.”
The decision has received support from midfielder Ki Sung-yueng:
“The players are more focused on the pitch than having a Christmas party. We can have a Christmas party whenever we want, maybe in March. This is the priority for us – to stay up in the league first. We can delay it until any time. The boys are together. Maybe if we win against Fulham, we can have a Christmas party. I think the games are more important for us than a Christmas party.”
The Magpies will need all the help they can get – on Boxing Day they face Liverpool away from home, a winnable match away Watford follows, before welcoming Manchester United to St James’ Park on the 2nd January.