Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez seems to be willing to go into detail on some of the reasons he drops players from the team and all of it is not simply because a player may not be playing well.
It could be because he wants to change the formation against a certain team and other players may be better players in a certain position.
Rafa may also see a player is not giving 100% in training and he never seems to like that and may drop a player simply because of that – as a wake-up call to the player.
Rafa Benitez on the training pitch
Rafa has already left some big players out of the starting line-up since he joined Newcastle seven weeks and seven games ago ago yesterday, and they include Georginio Wijnaldum, Jonjo Shelvey and Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Benitez was asked why he drops players:
“It depends.” “Sometimes it depends on the position.” “Sometimes you want to change a player because you need to play with another system.”
“So we are playing 4-3-3 and we decide to play 4-2-3-1, and maybe you have people who don’t suit a certain position so you have to change players.”
“Maybe they are doing well but in their position, for that game, another one in their position can be better.” “So it’s not that you are disappointing a player because he is not doing well, you have lots of reasons.”
“I think the reaction of the players to being dropped has been quite positive.” “They’ve trained harder, that is what you expect.” “I was talking with them individually at different times and they know that is the way.”
“On the training field on Friday I was talking with one player, we had a pattern of play and then we were finishing with a game and he was trying to score but his teammate was free in the center.”
“I said to him: ‘Look, it doesn’t matter who scores to me, we want to win.’” “The team comes first, and then after we can think about players, or managers, or whatever.”
“But all of them realise it is important to go all along in the same way.” “If you are in the middle of the season you might react differently and say: ‘I want to play.’”
“But now it is a crucial time for everyone and the main thing is to win; it doesn’t matter who is on the pitch.”
We could see Wijnaldum return to the starting line-up today and maybe he can also return to some of the form he showed earlier in the season and could even add to the 9 goals he has scored for us this season.
Most fans are expecting a win today and that would help us survive – but that will depend on what Sunderland and Norwich do at Stoke and Arsenal respectively.