Rafa Benitez spoke to nufcTV after his training session finished yesterday – and every fan who has a subscription to nufcTV should see this interview.
In fact the club should issue the video of the interview for all fans to see.
Rafa comes across as very genuine and said he wanted to come to Newcastle with one of the major reasons for coming were the fans – because he knows all about the Newcastle fans from when he visited St. James´ Park with Liverpool.
He was all business during this interview and he seems to have already thought things through on what is required for Newcastle to avoid relegation this season.
Rafa Benitez – first nufcTV interview
He asked the whole City and the fans to stick together and support the team in the final 10 games of the season – that was a recurring theme in the interview – he wants everybody associated with Newcastle behind the team until the very last game of the season.
Rafa said that he knows Steve McClaren well and that he was sorry he was fired and he knows what that´s like – he wished Steve all the best for the future and said these things happen.
He talked about the three coaches he had brough in – Fabio Pecchia, Francisco de Míguel Moreno and Antonio Gomez Perez – and gave a short history of each of them and had very good, but different things to say about each one of them.
The thing he stressed about them was they are all very hard workers.
Rafa said he had good reports about both Ian Cathro and Simon Stone and that he has already talked to them about the players at the club.
The first thing was that we have to stay in the Premier League and if we can do that we will have a great future, but we have to take one game at a time.
He wants to do things now and in the future so that the potential of the club will grow and keep growing.
Rafa said he has confidence that Newcastle can avoid the drop, but we must all concentrate and have the support of everybody – we will try to win every game, but that we will have to keep going for all 10 games, whatever happens.
He saw similarities at Newcastle with two of his former clubs – Valencia and Liverpool – and the fans there are also working class and very passionate – Rafa said he got great support at those two clubs from the fans.
He told the players yesterday they have always to give everything and think in a positive way – they have to concentrate on their jobs.
He doesn´t want them to dwell on the past in any way, but just think about the next game – do your best in the game and in every training session too.
The 55 year-old said it was a difficult situation Newcastle are in at the moment and there´s not much time before the Leicester City game, but that the lads trained well yesterday and Rafa was pleased with that – very pleased with that.
Rafa said he has to decide which players will be available for each game and he said that every player will have a part to play before the end of the season.
He said yes – he was a little surprised Newcastle were so low in the table – because he knows we have some good players from watching some of the Newcastle games this season.
Rafa said we will try our best to do well and give the players confidence, but they must give their all.
He said he was a manager and at the same time a coach, so he likes to train with ¨my players” – to motivate them and give them instructions.
He said Leicester City Claudio Ranieri was his friend and he had met him in Italy – and that hopefully we can win the game on Monday night.
He stressed again near the end that one of the key reasons he came to Newcastle was that he knows all about the Geordie fans and he said he was sure they will be supporting the team – they know we have only 10 games left.
If he makes a mistake during a game or one of his players makes a mistake he said we have to move on and keep concentrating.
Benitez ended the interview – which we thought was terrific and almost a motivational type speech to both his players and the fans by saying the Newcastle fans can make a big difference.
One last thing – as some fans have already mentioned – it´s now double jeopardy.
If we are relegated not only will we be a Championship club next season and fans around the world will not even be able to see the games – but we will also lose Rafa Benitez – one of the best coaches in Europe.
That would be very hard to take.
If we stay up it’s clear from the interview that Rafa wants to take the club back to being successful – and make us great again – and that he has both the skills and wherewithal to do that.
So at the moment, I´m not sure whether to laugh or cry.