Rafa Benitez boasts Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Chelsea and Valencia on a storied managerial CV.
But keeping a Newcastle United squad lacking in top class talent in the Premier League was one of the biggest tasks of his 25-year coaching career. Benitez, however, appears to have passed the challenge with flying colours.
With five games to go in the season, Newcastle are 13 points clear of safety and are sitting in tenth place, with a top-half finish within their grasp on the back of Sunday’s impressive 2-1 victory against Arsenal.
So surely Benitez, who has had to contend with a penny-pinching owner reluctant to invest in a second-rate squad, deserves to be right in the running for the Manager of the Year job? Newcastle fans certainly think so.
But it seems that Benitez is not the Twitter favourite as things stand.
Instead, that particular accolade goes to Sean Dyche who, like his Spanish counterpart, has overachieved massively with a squad that should be nowhere near the Premier League’s top ten on paper.
Burnley are seventh right now and, unless Southampton pull off a major shock and win the FA Cup, will be playing European football next season.
Perhaps the biggest compliment you can pay the Clarets is that they have never been in the relegation fight, a battle that has taken up almost half of the league.
But does Dyche really deserve the award more than Benitez?
Him or Dyche for sure— josh (@Ifcjosh) April 14, 2018
Outside of the top four, manager of the year goes to Dyche. Benitez not far behind— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) April 15, 2018
Benitez has done an admirable survival job. Dyche could get Burnley into Europe. Burnley— Leonard Archer (@fishpainting) April 16, 2018
Sean Dyche, Pep, then Roy. That’s my shortlist. He’s done an incredible though and they should be doing everything to keep him another season— Charlie Trill (@CharlieTrill) April 15, 2018
Should be burnley manager— Aeceus (@AeceusSC) April 15, 2018
I’m seeing shouts of Rafa Benitez being manager of the year...come on let’s be serious now— Steven (@OneFootValencia) April 16, 2018
Sean Dyche— no salad just sauce (@TierghnanDFC) April 16, 2018