Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail.
That’s certainly something which can’t be levelled at Newcastle United under Rafa Benitez.
The Magpies manager is renowned for his meticulous preparation ahead of each game, drilling the team on the training field, ensuring every player knows their role, positioning and the team’s tactical approach.
It’s an approach that has seen United gain instant promotion from the Championship, and which has earned them early accolades in the Premier League this season.
Forward Ayoze Perez is one of the players who has benefitted from Benitez’s methods, with the Toon boss praising his fellow Spaniard for his workrate and application this term.
Perez insists nothing has changed since they stepped up to the top flight, only the time that they can now spend honing their tactical approach to each game under Benitez’s stewardship.
And ahead of tomorrow’s game against Crystal Palace at St James’s Park, the 24-year-old says being out of the hurly burly Championship, where games came thick and fast, can only benefit the team – and in some ways makes like ‘easier’ in the Premier League.
“We’re not really doing anything different, but we have more time to prepare for the games when we are in the Premier League and that is a big factor,” Perez said.
“We have a week to prepare for the next game now, and that didn’t happen very often in the Championship.
“That is a big difference, and it is a big help to us.
“You can train through the week, and do some specific work related to the team you are going to be playing against.
“In some ways, that means it is slightly easier to be in the Premier League than the Championship. Obviously, the standard of the matches is very different, but at least in this league you get to prepare properly and work on your tactics for every game.”
Perez earned plaudits for his workrate and goal in the 2-2 draw against Southampton last weekend, but says it is the way Newcastle are playing as a team this season that is behind their good start, which sees them head into tomorrow’s game ninth in the table.
And he admits that if someone isn’t doing their job for Benitez, they run the risk of being axed from the first team.
“You can prepare properly and train a bit more specifically on things you can improve,” he added.
“That makes you feel fitter and more comfortable going into the games.
“The main thing is the way the team works though. We all know that if someone is not working as they should, they will not play in the next game.
“Everyone has to work for the team. Everyone knows what they have to do, and at the moment, we are doing it well.”