Ian Wright questions Benitez impact

St James Park

Newcastle might be relegated into the Championship.

Speaking to The Sun, Ian Wright has questioned whether or not Rafael Benitez has made much of a difference as Newcastle United manager.

The Spanish boss replaced Steve McClaren in March and the Magpies, to be fair, have looked a much better outfit under Benitez's watch thus far.

United have nine games under the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss so far, losing three, drawing four and winning two in a run of form which has at least boosted their hopes of survival to some extent.

Under McClaren, Newcastle had lost five of their previous six and looked certain to be plying their trade in the Championship, but Benitez has at least given them hope - or at least had.

Their 0-0 draw at bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa on Saturday might be a defining result for all the wrong reasons. If Sunderland beat Everton tomorrow, then Newcastle, in 18th place, will be relegated along with Norwich City.

They are the only team in the Premier League this season not to beat Villa, who brought an 11-match losing streak into the clash, and Wright suggests that the 56-year-old has not made them more hungry to survive.

"I'm not seeing any change regarding the demeanour of the players. I'm not seeing anymore hunger. Yes they have a bit more structure and a bit more shape to them, but I'm not seeing it," Wright told The Sun.

 

Perhaps minimal, but Benitez has certainly united the team to some extent, and good wins over Swansea and Crystal Palace prove that, but the draw at Villa Park was reminiscent of McClaren's Newcastle.

 

If Sunderland fail to beat Everton, the battle for survival goes to the final day, with Benitez's side hosting Spurs while the Black Cats visit Norwich City.

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