Rafa Benitez has refuted more than once since he´s been at Newcastle that the players he has inherited don´t care – in fact he´s said the opposite – that they are all trying very hard in training.
And last week the local journalists who attended the training sessions on Thursday at Benton were both surprised and pleased at the intensity of the sessions – as Rafa put the players through their paces.
Rafa has come to Newcastle after joining his home town club Real Madrid last June, where the 55 year-old was training players of the caliber of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, who know how to put the ball in the back of the net – so it’s a bit of a change for the manager.
Rafa Benitez – no problems with the players
Benitez thinks there are not many problems with the Newcastle squad in terms of effort or application of the players:
“Always you change things depending on the players that you have.” “These players, I said before – and it’s not that I have to say it, it’s totally true – they are doing everything.”
“They are trying to impress me, they are training really hard, even the people that have some knocks and little things.”
“And I said that in a positive way when I first came in, but maybe some people put it in a negative way, but no – they are trying to be ready.”
“I have had conversations with people but maybe the fans think: ‘Maybe he doesn’t care.’” “But they have said to me: ‘No, I am a professional and I will do my best.’”
“So I think that in the end they can see the stature of the club, and they can see that changing some things will allow this to be a greater team and a great club in the Premier League.”
“I’m sure of everyone wanting to be a part of the club in the future and part of the project, so for them it’s important for them to do well,”
“I will not say ‘everyone’, but I was surprised with some of them.”
“Even this morning, one was coming here to the training ground, and they said to me: ‘I want to work hard, what do you need from me Rafa?’”
“I had the same conversation in the last week with four or five players. That for me has been a surprise and very positive too.”
The project Rafa talks about was considered a long term one when he arrived at the club on March 11th and during the previous discussions with Lee Charnley and company
But for that to happen Rafa has to keep Newcastle in the Premier League – and as far as we can tell the manager seems the one who is the most relaxed about that possibility and continues to think he can do it.
We play Norwich on Saturday at Carrow Road and that is shaping up as another key game for us.
A defeat would not be good, but a win would put us level on points with Norwich with a game in hand and a decent chance of saving ourselves this season after all.
That’s what we’re hoping for.
We have to remain positive, as difficult as it sometimes is at the club.