Rafa Benitez has received praise from his fellow Premier League managers after the Spaniard guided Newcastle United to safety with time to spare.
The Magpies all-but secured their top-flight future for another season by passing the 40-point mark with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal earlier this month - and their Premier League status was mathematically guaranteed following Swansea City’s defeat to Chelsea on Saturday.
Given the lack of investment Benitez has received since United returned to the top flight as Championship winners last term, he has been heralded by pundits and fellow managers alike for his success this season - with Newcastle even on course to end the campaign with a top-half finish.
Even Pep Guardiola - whose Manchester City side have already lifted the title, have passed the 100-goal mark in the league, can still set a record points haul and even break the 100-point barrier for the first time in Premier League history, while also playing an exhilarating brand of football - has lauded Benitez.
In fact, though Guardiola is favourite to pick up the League Managers Association (LMA) Manager of the Year award, the former Barcelona boss has stated that Burnley’s Sean Dyche and Benitez would be equally-deserving winners.
“Of course, the teams for the players who are nominated to win have more chance,” Guardiola replied when asked if he believed he should win the LMA Manager of the Year accolade.
“But, believe me, if the Burnley manager, my colleagues, or, for example, Rafa Benitez at Newcastle – he’s made an amazing job - won it, great.
“For example, Salah is [named] the best player – I’m not going to say it’s unfair. But if they say Kevin [de Bruyne], I’m not going to say it’s unfair too.
“There are many, many players and many managers who deserve that. You know my opinion about that. It’s a collective game, it isn’t tennis or golf. A lot of people are involved in our success - the reason why is a lot.
“I’m sitting in front of you , it looks like I’m more important. But it’s more important how you [collectively] help the players to play well.”