Rafael Benitez: Newcastle manager tells his players 'don't panic, don't panic'

Rafa Benitez
Benitez said he watched sitcoms like Dad's Army - including the famous 'Don't panic' catchphrase - to help learn English

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has spoken of his love for English sitcoms, and sent a Dad's Army-style "don't panic" message to his players.

The Spaniard said he listened to the Beatles and watched Fawlty Towers to help with his English when he first moved to England.

Newcastle did not win any of their first 10 league games of the season but have now climbed to 14th in the table.

"We have to stay calm, don't panic - like Dad's Army," Benitez said.

The 58-year-old first managed in England with Liverpool from 2004-10, winning the FA Cup, Champions League and Super Cup.

"My English was poor when I first arrived - as it still is - but I used to listen to the Beatles to improve it," he said. "I watched the sitcoms for that as well."

And Benitez echoed the much-loved Dad's Army character Corporal Jones, played by the late Clive Dunn, in the build-up to his side's match against bottom side Fulham on Saturday.

"Don't panic and carry on doing your job because it's a long, long season," he said. "I see a lot of sitcoms, which I enjoy. I love the 'Don't panic! Don't panic!'

"When I first came, I enjoyed watching Father Ted, Fawlty Towers - with the waiter who was supposed to be Spanish but sounded more Italian. Only Fools and Horses is a big favourite of mine.

"I used to watch My Family, Blackadder, and the Vicar of Dibley, I watched them all. They were great fun. They helped me relax and now I watch them all."

Newcastle, who have 16 points from their opening 17 matches, travel to Benitez's former club Liverpool on 26 December and are away again three days later - at Watford.

Asked about Christmas at St James' Park, he said: "Normally I give presents to all the staff and they give presents back.

"They are killing me, because what do they give? Wine - I don't drink. Or chocolate - and I don't want to eat more chocolate or ice cream."

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who has been criticised for a lack of investment in the transfer market, revealed earlier this month that he hoped to sell the club to "an owner that will please everybody".

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