The reporters who were at the first team training session run by Rafa Benitez yesterday were invited into his office for a talk between the sessions – and it seems Rafa was upbeat and even cracked a few jokes to the reporters.
Rafa pointed out the books in the bookcase have not changed much since he arrived, although other more important things had.
Some of the books in the bookcase left behind were the LMA handbook, a Premier League book and a tourist guide to Edinburgh.
Rafa Benitez – Newcastle are going to be number one
Rafa was light-hearted as he talked to the reporters:
“What I have done is to classify the books. They were here for years and I was asking: ‘Why do you have these books here?’”
“Maybe they were for Steve, but they were here already when I came in. All these books I am not very interested in. Here, these ones, I find interesting (plucking out the Edinburgh one with a smile).”
“You have to give the players some confidence, and to be fair for so many years we have had some books about that. The key is to stay calm, analyse things, make decisions and stay calm.”
“If you make a decision and you make a mistake then we say ‘OK’, we will make a change and they carry on. If they feel that you have a game plan or whatever, then they will follow you, adopt this and that.”
“Sometimes, even if you are not sure on the game plan, they won’t follow. But we are sure we are doing things right.”
“We have changed little things, but you cannot change too much because then it’s a race if you try to change everything at the same time.”
“But the training sessions, the way that we do things, the gym, the prevention from injuries, and the recuperation after training sessions, the communication between the departments we have changed them.”
“In the office, not so much!”
Rafa´s philosophy in football seems to be ¨to stay calm, analyse things, make decisions and stay calm.”
Certainly in the dressing room at half-time in Istanbul back in 2005 when Liverpool were losing 3-0 to AC Milan it seems Rafa was the only one who stayed calm, as he coolly thought through the changes necessary to get The Reds back into the game that seemed already lost.
The rest is history as Liverpool came back and won the Champions League that year 3-2 on penalties after it was 3-3 after 90 minutes and extra time.
Rafa seems an expert on being able to analyse games and make the necessary changes throughout the game and especially at half time.
The reporters present yesterday have been keen to stress Benitez was smiling before, during and after the sessions – and that his upbeat mood was genuine.
He seems to be the classic successful man – very positive in a job he does very well.
Rafa seems convinced he can keep Newcastle up this season, even though one point from his first two games in charge is not what he or the fans had hoped for.
But it´s early days still with eight games left – and with this two week break he has time to work with the players not away on International duty.
If we can get a win at Norwich a week tomorrow – then hopes will be raised significantly that Rafa can indeed save us.
If he can the future could be bright for Newcastle United – but only if Rafa is given wide powers and is allowed to overhaul the club from top to bottom.
Then we could be successful – very successful – in fairly short order.
That would be unbelievable given the dire situation in the league we are in right now – and the complete mess the club is in.
What do you think?