The Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez cuts the figure of a kindly headteacher but there’s a steelier side to Magpies’ Spanish gaffer, as he showed last night.
Having guided his side to a hard-fought 2-1 win against Burnley at Turf Moor, the former Real Madrid boss had a word with the panel in the Sky Sports studio live from the tunnel in Lancashire.
Benitez has been linked with a move away from Newcastle consistently, as his discontent with the lack of investment in the playing squad by tat merchant-in-chief Mike Ashley has become more and more clear.
Asked if he wanted to stay on these shores Benitez, who maintains a family home on Merseyside after his spell in charge of Liverpool, seemed to send a message to the third club he’s taken charge of on these shores, Chelsea.
“I’m really pleased in England. I’m really pleased here with the fans they are behind me,” he said.
“The Liverpool fans, as I mentioned,” he continued. “And the Newcastle United fans are amazing too.”
No word of the Stamford Bridge faithful, Rafa?
Benitez endured a troubled time during his stint in London back in the 2012-13 season, when he served as an interim coach.
Having been given a hostile reception by the home support during his tenure there, he guided them to a Europa League triumph.
Little love lost between Rafa and those Chelsea fans, still, it seems.
Three wins on the trot have given Newcastle’s season a different look, and Rafa and his side now sit within touching distance of the top half of the Premier League table.