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Newcastle: Rafa Benitez had howler with Chancel Mbemba

Eddie Howe is now flying as Newcastle United boss as he is unbeaten in six Premier League matches and has guided the team outside of the bottom three in the table. 

Fans may be starting to take to the former Bournemouth man in a way that they have not done since Rafa Benitez was at the club prior to Steve Bruce’s spell in charge.

However, it was not all sunshine and rainbows for the recently-axed Everton head coach as he made his share of errors with the Magpies.


One player the Spaniard played a disasterclass with was central defender Chancel Mbemba. The DR Congo international played 59 times for the Magpies in three seasons, with Benitez joining midway through his first campaign at the club.

Did Benitez make a mistake with Mbemba?





He averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.95 in 2015/16 as he produced top performances on a consistent basis in the Premier League. This showed that he had the potential to be a useful asset for the club in the top-tier moving forward, but it did not work out between him and his manager.

Former Porto player Steven Defour claimed that Benitez’s management of the defender resulted in his eventual departure, saying:

“Mbemba is a tough defender in the individual marking, he is a fast player who has passing quality and who risks going out to play from the defence, he has a good aerial game, he has talent and qualities to impose on FC Porto.

“I think he just could not stay at Newcastle, because they made him play right-back, a position that is not his. It was a shame.”

Five of his nine Premier League appearances in his final year at the club came at full-back, with Defour believing that his positioning caused him to want a transfer away from St. James’ Park. This shows that Benitez’s handling of the defender was directly responsible for the situation.

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He sealed a move to Porto in the summer of 2018 for a fee in the region of £7.1m. Since making that switch, he has played 120 matches for the Portuguese side and his market value has skyrocketed from £5.4m to £13.5m – as per Transfermarkt.

This shows that he has been able to kick on since leaving the club, with Benitez unable to extract the best out of him after a promising first year.

His use of the DR Congo machine was seemingly to blame and his soaring value since his exit suggests that the ex-Liverpool boss endured a howler with him during his time at St. James’ Park, as Newcastle have potentially missed out on keeping a quality player with a high resale value.

AND in other news,  Fewer passes than Dubravka: Newcastle lightweight who made 0 tackles blew his chance…

Article title: Newcastle: Rafa Benitez had howler with Chancel Mbemba

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