Jamie Redknapp has unpopular McClaren opinion about Newcastle

Steve McClaren

Jamie Redknapp still believed Newcastle would have stayed up with Steve McClaren at the helm.

Jamie Redknapp has told The Mail he feels Newcastle United would have stayed up even if they had not fired Steve McClaren and replaced him with Rafa Benitez.

He explains it is for this reason he is not buying into the 'miracle worker Rafa' hype, playing down what the Spaniard may achieve if he helps the team to avoid relegation.

Benitez has his first game in charge this evening when they visit league leaders Leicester City.

Redknapp said: "People should not get carried away — you can’t work magic with a team in two days. But what Benitez will do is try to get Newcastle organised, maybe play with two defensive midfielders and try to make them hard to beat.

"I fancied Newcastle to survive with or without Benitez so I don’t think he’ll be working any miracles if he keeps them up. But with him at the helm they should give Leicester a real game on Monday night."

McClaren was fired after 28 league games in charge, with Newcastle sitting in 19th position.

We will never know whether Redknapp would have been right in his assertion, but Newcastle simply could not afford to do nothing and take the risk, particularly after the poor performances in recent losses against Chelsea, Stoke City and Bournemouth.

The Tyne Wear derby takes place next weekend with Newcastle looking to turn around a run of six straight losses in the fixture, and it's likely Benitez's arrival as boss will have done enough to lift spirits to give the players belief they can win the pivotal game.

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