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Rafa – Player Comments In Press Will Not Change Anything

12:05 am, Saturday, June 11th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 38 Comments

Rafa Benitez’ strategy for next season is based on the fact he had Newcastle playing extremely well in those final six games of the season as it took Rafa four games to work things out with the Newcastle squad.

But Newcastle put some good performances in and got a good 12 points from the final six games and on that type of form we should be able to win promotion next season  from the Championship.

rafa benitez sissoko after mouussa scored swansea

Rafa Benitez and Moussa Sissoko

But to do that Rafa has to keep all the players and they will include the likes of Moussa Sissoko, Gini Wijnaldum, Daryl Janmaat and Andros Townsend and Rafa will do his utmost to keep these players at the club for the one season he sees Newcastle spending in the Championship.

In addition, Rafa will bring in some new players this season and allow some other fringe players to leave the club as he both strengthens the squad and increases the size of it.

Rafa talked about this today in the Chronicle and especially about Moussa who earlier in the week made it clear in the French press he thought he was too good to play in England’s second division.

This is what Rafa said:

“I think that we have to analyze every single situation – every single case.”

“Sissoko – he knows, because obviously I was talking to his agent, and obviously he knows that he’s an important player for us and I will try to keep him with us for sure.”

“The only thing I can say about him in terms of what he did as a player is positive.” “These comments in the Press, I think it’s important to realize that they will not change things.”

“We said what we said before: We want to keep the squad as strong as possible and then we will analyze every single case but we will try to do the best for the team.”

Rafa can be very persuasive and if he wants to keep a player at Newcastle he’ll do just that.

And in a couple of years they will be pleased they stayed on at Newcastle because we expect Rafa to build a very successful side on Tyneside and very quickly too.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Contracts · Management · Moussa Sissoko · Newcastle News · Transfer News and Rumours

38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 12:23 AM

    Sissoko is playing for France, who are better than England, while Townsend is on holidays after being left behind. Yet to many on here Townsend is a great player and Sissoko shouldn’t even be in the Newcastle run on side.

    Not only does Deschamps disagree, so does Rafa, who gave him the armband and the most influential position on the park. Ahead of Widjnaldum, Shelvey, De Jong and Perez.

    We didn’t go down due to Sissoko’s inconsistencies. We went down because our central midfield, central defence, and central attack weren’t good enough – undone by an under cooked squad.

    His come and get me plea was undignified, and perhaps a bit deluded. If you aren’t a first pick for your country, you’re likely to struggle to make an impact at a club like Arsenal. But three and half years is a big chunk of a career to tread water at an underperforming club. To add another is understandably not that appealing, no matter the manager.

    I’m confident that now, under Rafa, Newcastle has finally learned its lessons and will get more players of Sissoko’s calibre on the pitch at the same time, not too few, and to see the best of them.

  • 2 Harley // Jun 11, 2016 at 12:35 AM

    Oh jimmysmith

    What are you doing posting sensible comments like that past midnight. This is the hour for irrational behaviour and hysteria.

    Get to bed!!!

  • 3 Munster Mag // Jun 11, 2016 at 12:36 AM

    Jeez jail u always call it wrong. You have rafa as a legend on tyneside, up there with bobby robson, and he’s only been here a few months and we went down. And yes, he failed to keep us up and he failed to properly attack villa makems and norwich. But you have him in bobbys league. Hopefully he will be. But you’re better at boring us about ashley than talking football sense so stick to that. Unbelievable.

  • 4 Blofal // Jun 11, 2016 at 12:50 AM

    Munster it was the players and not Rafa who failed to attack Villa. They were too scared of losing the game.

    Players get off way too lightly these days.

  • 5 lesh // Jun 11, 2016 at 1:40 AM


    Your mitigation for Sissoko’s impressive.

    But you omitted to refer to Sissoko’s performances and commitment in the games before Rafa worked his wonders.

  • 6 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 2:10 AM

    Lesh, Sissoko is a favourite of Deschamps, who has always included him. A favourite of Rafa’s, who wants to keep him, and a favourite of Pardew’s and McClaren before him. The ‘mitigation’, if that’s what it is, wasn’t earned over the last half dozen games of last season, when he was deployed more fittingly.

    Like everyone on here, I’d obviously have preferred it if he were more consistent, but the club has hardly given him the appropriate platform over the last three and a half years to be the week in, week out, 7 to 8 out of 10 player he otherwise would have been for us.

  • 7 lesh // Jun 11, 2016 at 5:05 AM


    I agree wholeheartedly and would say that Sissoko’s not been the only player whose game’s been affected by the poor management and the whole air of pointlessness that resulted from it.

  • 8 scout // Jun 11, 2016 at 6:17 AM

    Sissoko has a lambs heart as someone on here pointed out. The man single handedly took us down. Look at his record last season, pathetic.

  • 9 Jib // Jun 11, 2016 at 6:53 AM


    You should be very careful using Deschamps’ managerial knowledge to support your argument.
    His record as manager at Monaco and Marseilles was very average , he only did well at Juventus because he inherited a good side.

    I first started having niggling doubts about McClaren when he said he was impressed by Sissoko’s physique.

    It must be my rugby background , but physique counts for very little , it’s what’s between the ears that matters (what Graham Henry the all blacks coach called the top sixth)
    If you’re not a warrior , with the heart of a lion at the top level you shouldn’t be there.

    They have just buried a guy from Lousville who was never a huge physical presence , but what was between his ears you couldn’t put a price on.

    Sissoko lacks cojones !

  • 10 yorkymag // Jun 11, 2016 at 6:57 AM

    Where is Rafa,Where is Rafa,Where is Rafa , on the banner !!!!

  • 11 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:09 AM

    Jib, you might be right about Sissoko. He may lack character, I wouldn’t know, although I think it’s all too easy and reactionary to say he does, and I wonder exactly how much character is expected – blood in their boots?

    But I certainly think you are wrong about Ali, who was not a small heavyweight by any means, and was in fact an astonishing physical specimen. A wholly remarkable athlete, not as well recognised for this because he was so scientific, so technical, so courageous, so charismatic, so good looking, so intelligent………and of course he was whoopin’ ass, but he wasn’t doing it out of anything other than the perfect physique for a heavyweight.

  • 12 WWSBRD // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:21 AM

    Howay now we didn’t go down because of Sissoko he did what he could just does have the stamina or quality to do it along though if he had been playing with someone putting away the chances he made rather than fluffing them he’d be up there with some very good company in stats

  • 13 Bambams // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:22 AM

    Rafa is playing Sissoko very well in my opinion.

    He has come out and said we don’t need to sell anyone, need a strong squad….

    Sissoko has said he wants to play for a CL club…..

    Let’s see who actually ‘comes in and bids’ for Sissoko.

    Top four ? Can’t see it…..

    Sissoko when he wants to be (rare I know) can be the difference.

    I can see the season starting without a CL club coming in for him, Rafa can then sell it to him that he will make him a better player and the club is moving in the right direction ‘at last’

    Time will tell but to be honest I wouldn’t be bothered if we sold him. (Wini and Janmaat also)

    Just my opinion boys, not saying I am right

  • 14 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:39 AM

  • 15 Jib // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:41 AM

    All heavyweight boxers are astonishing physical specimens.

    I didn’t say he was a “small heavyweight”

    I said “never a huge physical presence”

    (were you in the same English comprehension class as Jail ?)

    Arguably his two most iconic fights – at the beginning of his pro career v Liston – and when he came back from his ban “the rumble in the jungle” v Foreman – were both against men who were , taller , heavier and outreached him.

    His physique didn’t help – his heart and head won those bouts.

    Which was my point

  • 16 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    I think he was an immense physical presence, and my level of comprehension is just fine thanks pal.

  • 17 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:45 AM

    Foreman and Liston were lumbering oafs by comparison. Particularly Foreman.

  • 18 Munster Mag // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:48 AM

    Blofal i agree re players but managers generally dictate tactics and even sky were saying the low numbers we were sending up for corners was crazy tactically. We were awful, truly awful against sunderland and i could see then that we would not attack the last games aggressively. I think his choice of cisse was flawed and putting sissoko on left was odd. Believe me i like rafa all day long and he is what we need but he is barely here and cant be compared to Bobby except for impact on season tickets etc. He will be great for us given time. i wud have preferred to see him remove some of the coaching staff and i hope he doesn’t get too cautious in games. Those wud be the only real concerns i wud have. i have my poor kids singing the rafa song so i’m a big fan 🙂

  • 19 WWSBRD // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:49 AM

    Why Janmatt?

  • 20 Munster Mag // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    Jib i have made the same point re mcclaren and sissoko when it happened. Very good point jib. Too many managers are swayed by sissoko’s body! Pardew loved it too! 🙂

  • 21 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:56 AM

    It’s 90% physique. You don’t have it you’ve basically got no chance in the EPL. And if you have a great physique you do have an advantage. Sissoko is all almost all about using his physical attributes, driving forward with the ball at his feet in the final third, but his final ball is decent too, as is his short game in tight situations. But sure, he lacks the character of Ali. I can’t think of too many at all who don’t.

  • 22 Bambams // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:56 AM


    I think Janmaat has the wrong attitude and like many others I believe he wants away.

    The Southampton game performance and that he was trying to instigate a move to Juventus in January just finished me off. Think Anita did well in his position but think Rafa will sign a RB

    I don’t think any three of them will up for the championship.

    But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong and Rafa gets the best out of him.

  • 23 Munster Mag // Jun 11, 2016 at 7:58 AM

    Bambams i agree re rafa playing sissoko well. That said, if rafa farted we’d say it was the finest fart ever :). I wud also be happy if he said that players who didnt work hard enough in the prem can f@ck right off and sell sissoko and co. I guess he is protecting their price. If he thinks sissoko is worth keeping he is wrong! We know he will let us down. Its in his nature.

  • 24 Munster Mag // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:00 AM

    Jimmy sissoko is overrated badly. Top teams wont fancy his technique. He is a poor tackler and is too selfish. It cant all be down to mccardew

  • 25 Munster Mag // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:02 AM

    Agree re janmaat. And wiji. lots of money to be recovered and re invested there

  • 26 WWSBRD // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:05 AM

    That Southampton game really did get people’s backs up didn’t he?

    I really don’t get the dislike that came up for him this season. He’s a very good RB and through out his time with us he’s looked the leader, never shys away from fronting up to media and fans

    He got hurt at Southampton turning then broke his hand out of frustration it was stupid but he didn’t punch a wall with the intend of sacking off Newcastle

    As for the Juve move I’ve not seen him driving it just paper talk so am not going to hold that against him

  • 27 Bambams // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:05 AM


    You are spot on re how high we hold Rafa !

    I worry we are all just getting carried away and he can sprint on water.

    I have to admit it’s the first time since SBR that I genuinely believe we have someone who can get rid of the dead wood and possibly make a team.

    Again though ‘time will tell’

    Cheers fella

  • 28 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:06 AM

    Munster, can you outline exactly why Sissoko must let us down, because it’s in his nature. Any real evidence of this, to set against the general consensus that we’ve never had the quality or depth of squad to allow a regular International of his calibre, or any other decent player to blossom.

  • 29 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:10 AM

    Badly overrated? By you I accept. But not by Deschamps, Benitez, Pardew, McClaren, and countless others along the way to the highest level, you’d have to assume. How do you win 30 caps for France at 26 by being overrated exactly.

  • 30 Bambams // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:13 AM


    I have reason every now and again to go to the training ground as part of a charity I help out.

    Due to me working with a former Toon player we do get a little bit of info (not as much as we used to) .

    It was well known throughout Christmas Janmaat was trying to get the move. That came from someone who would know.

    I am not doubting he is a good RB and I would be happy if he turned out to be the best RB in the Championship.

    Maybe players now know we have a manager that wants to win things and not just happy to go through the motions to keep the ‘profit machine ‘ running, they may have a completely new view of our club.

    We will have a better idea of Rafa’s thinking by the beginning of the season.

    Cheers fella

  • 31 WWSBRD // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:19 AM

    That’s cool mate but still we looked like muck through Christmas and all season (Janmatt was our main attacking outlet first half of the season remember…Christ that depressing thinking about) who wouldn’t want out and Juve were sniffing around him but I would say he’s been nothing but respectful to Newcastle

    Personally I’d love him to stay and I still really like him. Tbh I only questioned u because it seems quite generally accepted Janmatt is some sort of bad egg and I’ve never seen it so I just don’t understand the huge swing in opinion on him

  • 32 Bambams // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:23 AM


    Fella like I say I would be happy for him to stay if he is committed.

    Again I agree, bet there were a few who wanted out around Christmas we played that badly.

    We need battlers for the away games in mid winter. This promotion may be a lot more difficult than most want to believe.

  • 33 WWSBRD // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    True we won’t necessarily walk the league (I think we wil like, I think the Rafa affect alone will carry us through some games but that’s just opinion based) and we do need battlers but I think if Janmatt is here next season he will give 100%

    But I wasn’t having a go at u or anything just exposing my confusion around Janmatt

  • 34 Rotonda heights // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:35 AM

    janmatt wasn’t involved much in the last 6 games and anita did a great job at rb. yes imagine payet and kante instead of thauvin and cabella. great job carr.

  • 35 Rotonda heights // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:39 AM

    dont know why munster has such a downer on rafa. he only had 10 games and simply ran out of time is all. shame no one had given rafa a heads up about taylor, but other than that it was a phenomenal attempt that just fell short.

  • 36 Rotonda heights // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:52 AM

    Potential departures

    Sissoko is basically a very quick athlete, not a footballer with great touch, control or football brain and vision, who seemingly doesn’t seem to like the physicality, despite his build. can’t see any attraction for wenger there whatsoever.

    janmatt is a right sided version of santon. poor positional sense and recovery speed in defense and extremely wasteful going forward, apart from whu game at home. Anita filled in more than adequately in attack and defense.

    wijnadum has undoubted ability but goes missing far to often. is that the coaches and how they set up away from home or a character flaw in the player?

    Mitro missed many chances, has poor movement and pace and 2 red cards in his first season wasn’t good. Technically very good, however and maybe rafa can mould him. a quick striker to get in behind might help. Armstrong perhaps..?

  • 37 Rotonda heights // Jun 11, 2016 at 8:57 AM


    rafa is a legend. just look at his record. It dwarfs the great man sbr, whose own record was excellent too. Rafa’s only been here 5 mins, give him a break.

  • 38 jimmysmith // Jun 11, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Janmaat, and potentially Mitrovic, are among our better players, if not our best. I’m far less eager to see them leave than many on here. I do think we could afford to let one of Widjnaldum and Sissoko go though, considering our abundance of number tens.

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