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Howay The Lads!!

Comments From Rafa Benitez Press Conference

1:23 pm, Thursday, August 4th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 51 Comments

Rafa Benitez has just given his press conference for the first game of the Championship season at Craven Cottage tomorrow night and Rafa has said he respects Fulham.

rafa benitez press confernce

Rafa Benitez – at press conference today

These are some of the comments Rafa has made in his press conference:

“The players are working very hard and they are ready.”

“We know the Championship is very difficult but we have the hope and belief that we can do well.”

“We have a lot of respect for Fulham. They beat Crystal Palace 3-1 and have a good manager. It will not be an easy game.”

“Jamaal is someone who is grown quickly. He takes responsibility and knows what it take to be the captain of this massive club.”

“I had a conversation with both Dwight and Mitro as they both wanted the number 9 shirt. In the end, Mitro told him to take it.”

Fulham’s new manager Slavisa Jokanovic is very good and he was the one who got Watford promoted in May, 2015 after only joining the club the previous October on a short term contract.

But it seems he could not agree terms with Watford and in early June of last year he was replaced by Quique Sanchez Flores.

Fulham could well be the surprise club in the Championship this season and it will be a tough test for Newcastle.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Championship · Newcastle News · Other News · Pre-season · Press · Press Conference

51 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kabul Fish // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:32 PM

    Fair play to Mitro.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow night!!!! Butterflies already ha ha

  • 2 Slank // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    27Slank // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:32 PM

    Don’t see Sissoko, Diame or Clark playing at Fulham.

    Diame and Clark have probably not trained yet with the squad and Rafa probably wouldn’t risk playing them without assessing them in training with those who are expected to play.

    Sissoko has probably trained since arriving back on Monday but might not be in Rafa’s plans except that Rafa rates him highly and so he could appear.

  • 3 Kabul Fish // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    Aye Sissoko could start and put in a ‘shop window’ performance but will he be worried about getting injured?
    Looking forward to seeing the line up 🙂

  • 4 Termijn // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:39 PM

    Slank, I agree it’ll be too soon for them, although Sissoko may make an appearance off the bench.

    I’d imagine we will line up like

  • 5 Kabul Fish // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:43 PM

    Termijn – agree but think Hanley will start over Mbemba.
    Not sure if Ritchie or Anita will start?

    So looking forward to finding out who Rafa has selected

  • 6 expatmag // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:44 PM

    I think the line up will be as follows :


    Janmaat Mbemba Lascelles Dummet

    Shelvey Colback

    Anita Peres Ritchie


  • 7 JP...from The Rock // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:44 PM

    Can’t wait for the game tomorrow! Bring it on! Oh and let’s not get all negative if we lose as anything can happen and I am sure Benitez is the best man for the job. It will be a long season and we all have to pull in the same direction, even on the blog as negativity spreads too fast.

    Howay the Lads!!

  • 8 sirjasontoon // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:47 PM

    Hope we get off to a winning start !

  • 9 JDdubai // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM

    Team for tomorrow:


    Not sure whats happening with Mbemba – if he is fine then in ahead of Hanley.
    shelvey not done enough pre-season for me, Hayden started more games so think Rafa, especially as it is away from home, wll start with Hayden.
    Anita could show up somewhere, Diame probably not ready yet but either could nudge Aarons out of the 11 but I would prefer him to start.

  • 10 ZIPPIE57 // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    Start with a point be happy if we don’t get beat

  • 11 Mister Tuff // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:52 PM

    Surely too risky playing Sissoko – he could sabotage the game. For me he does not start – or even get on the pitch.

  • 12 Mister Tuff // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:54 PM

    Zippie – raise your sights man – 3 points needs to be the goal.

  • 13 Blackley and Brownlie // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:54 PM

    Not studied Gayle in a live game, but I fancy him to get at least twice as many goals as Mitro this season.

  • 14 Belfast // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    I see sky bet are offering 16/1 that we win our first five games. I’ve a funny we’ll draw tomorrow night to be honest.

  • 15 Belfast // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:56 PM


  • 16 TacoFlavoredKisses ForMyBen-arfa // Aug 4, 2016 at 1:59 PM

    what am i missing here? why does no one have gamez starting. he never would have signed if he didnt have the nod to start.

    my starting 10
    gamez-mbmembs-lac-ANYONE but dummet, hes terrible

    However, i see anita starting over shelvy and dummet starting as LB

  • 17 Mister Tuff // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:02 PM

    Still have reservations about our attack being a bit lightweight.
    Mitro will get beat most times when it’s the big boot upfield -with his back to goal- CB’s come over the top of him every time.
    Ok when he’s got room to chest it – or a decent cross from him to attack the ball,.

  • 18 Mister Tuff // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:03 PM

    from him =for him

  • 19 Munster Mag // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    Not sure why gayle got the 9. Mitro wud appear to have more personality and passion? But as i have said before i think rafa will look to sign a more mobile striker than mitro, who also offers physicality. He rated cisse ahead of mitro last season and that was a failed choice. No doubt jail will whinge that i hate rafa now but obviously i dont. I just dont quite agree with some of his moves. I may put money on gayle for top scorer. Without mitro we clearly lack aerial presence.

  • 20 Munster Mag // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    As for tomorrow i think rafas conservative nature will see anita get in over Ritchie?

  • 21 hibbitt // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    Munster Mag
    i still think Rafa has a trick or two up his sleeve which might just surprise us

  • 22 neverwin // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    Have just watched Lascelles interview about his reaction to being captain.
    Very modest and likeable [no umming at all] – I really hope he is a success.

  • 23 Slank // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:20 PM


    Mitro said soon after being signed that (in Serbian logic I guess) he has No 9 as the sum on his shirt number equals No 9.

  • 24 TyneMouth // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:20 PM


    Hope I’m not to late.

    Final league position: 1st
    Final points total: 95
    League Cup: 5th round
    FA cup: 4th round
    Player of the season: Sissoko
    Top goal scorer: Perez
    Goals scored by TGS: 23

    Sissoko: If he stays, he plays. (…and keeps his opinions to himself!)
    If he still wants to leave, he has to play his sissocks off.
    If he won’t play, on or off the pitch, it will be a case of Breach of Contract.
    No play, no pay…
    …Sissoko off the bench at Fulham, it’s his TV moment…

  • 25 Ketsbaia9 // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:24 PM

    Sissoko has to start, he’s our best player.

  • 26 clinath@ed // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:33 PM

    No way Sissoko can start tomorrow.
    The lad hasn’t kicked a ball in anger for about 3-4 weeks, to interaction with his teammates on the field, has behaved like a complete tw@ towards the club…….

  • 27 Slank // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:34 PM

    I believe Rafa is conservative / cautious in nature and being away from home will not be too adventurous. He will want to keep it tight with added protection from his midfield.

    Janmaat-Hanley (or Mbemba)-Lascelles-Dummett

    I believe the front three are Rafa’s first choice with Mitro suspended.

    The only doubt I have is whether Shelvey starts ahead of Anita.

    The real surprise would be Sissoko and Tiote playing as, at the time of writing, are still Newcastle players.

  • 28 NUFCPaul // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:35 PM

    Kets – Sissoko is our best player in your opinion. Many on here would probably disagree with you, myself included. I wouldn’t start him because his comments show his head isn’t in the right place to start for us. If he came out publicly and said ‘I want to stay and help get this club back to where it should be’ then I’d say he’s ready to play. Until then I don’t want him anywhere near our squad of committed players.

  • 29 expatmag // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:36 PM


    Away and play ludo sonny

  • 30 clinath@ed // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:39 PM

    Is Kets just trying to Wind Us Up?

  • 31 expatmag // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:41 PM

    Rafa will set up the team not to be beaten which means the line up will be more defensively inclined.

    With Anita and Ritchie both having the ability to get back behind the ball as well as delivering quality ftom the flanks, I think he will be happy to retain possession as much as possible whilst probing for space in behind their back 4 ehere Gayle and Perez would prove dangrous

  • 32 NUFCPaul // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:41 PM

    Taco – what are you missing regarding Gamez? Did you watch any of his games in pre-season? He wasn’t exactly great, and even got sent off (incorrectly in my opinion). I seriously doubt Rafa told any of our new signings that they’d be guaranteed a start this season. More likely that he said they’d all have to fight for their place and that everyone would get games over the course of a long and tough season.

  • 33 Budge123 // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    I think team will be
    Janmaat-Mbemba (if fit )-Lascelles-Dummett

    I hope Rafa doesn’t go too cautious. I think we’ll need to take the game to teams a lot this year

  • 34 NUFCPaul // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:43 PM

    clinath – Kets is either a WUM or mentally deranged. No doubt about that.

  • 35 2_goal_tino // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:44 PM

    I think it will be…
    Janmaat-Mbemba(if fit)-El Capitaine-Dummett

    I would like Hayden to start in the middle but think Rafa will go with experience straight off the bat.

    But for me, the only guaranteed starters tomorrow are Gayle, Perez, Janmaat and Lascelles. Both (or one of) Aarons and Ritchie could be replaced by a combo of Perez or Anita with Shelvey / Hayden coming in. Similarly Colback/Anita could be replaced in the middle by Shelvey/ Hayden. I imagine Sels and Dummett will start but wouldb’t be surprised at all if it was Darlow and Jesus.

  • 36 geordie157 // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:45 PM

    Is Sels likely to start as our no.1? Would prefer to keep Darlow in goal.

    Defence picks itself with Mbemba starting or Hanley if Mbemba isn’t ready.

    Midfield is tough to predict, Anita has been player wide right and rafa likes him but I’d like to see shelvey and hayden, with the trio of ritchie, Perez and aarons behind Gayle.


    Janmaat, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett
    Shelvey, Hayden
    Ritchie, Perez, Aarons

    Sels, Gamez, Hanley, Anita, Diame, Gouffran, Armstrong

    No place for Clark or Colback, think with our lack of wingers Gouffran makes the bench.

    Can’t see Tiote or Sissoko being included.

  • 37 Jail for Ashley // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    I don’t think he would have been signed if he’d demanded to start

  • 38 TacoFlavoredKisses ForMyBen-arfa // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    i thought gamez played well. How many goals have to be let in before people realize we need a defender? WHO DEFENDS FIRST. keep in mind This guy was starting for Atletico last year!!!!!!!
    Janmat was exciting going forward but hes not the answer to the defensive problems. The send off is a non issue in my eyes.

  • 39 TacoFlavoredKisses ForMyBen-arfa // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Jail for Ashley
    im not saying he would have demanded to start, but that it would have been his place to lose

  • 40 Jail for Ashley // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Let’s is both

  • 41 Spoof // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    I cannot see Sissoko starting but I can see him being on the bench and being used if things aren’t going our way, and if they are going our way I still see him being used, putting him in the shop window could be for the best.

    I feel that you have right with what Rafa has told his players, about having to fight and that will apply to all and with the belief that it was Janmaat who bore the brunt of Lascellas tongue lashing last season it will defo apply to him seeing as a fighting spirit doesn’t seem to be top of his attributes so with that I expect Gamez to start with Janmaat being told to knuckle down and show the desire which many us believe he has to force his way back in.

  • 42 Spoof // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    the above was for Paul

  • 43 Slank // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:51 PM


    That’s interesting that you deferentuate WUM and mentally deranged.

    I always thought the second condition was an essential part of the first conditional part !

  • 44 Spoof // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:53 PM

    many of us don’t believe he has is what I should have said, I’ve made a right pigs ear of that post lol

  • 45 DaraghL // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:57 PM

    Taco –

    Gamez was not a starter for Athletico. He was behind Juanfran in the pecking order. He’s played 24 games in the last 2 seasons.

  • 46 Spoof // Aug 4, 2016 at 2:58 PM


    I don’t think the defence does pick itself, many disagree on who will be right back, some don’t have Dummett as feft back even though he is the only fit one which we have available, and then is it Hanley or Mbemba, and for the next match we have to add Clark to the mix, so for me the defence certainly does not pick it’s self, in fact apart from Gayle up front I don’t see a certain starter anywhere, with the exception of Lascellas who does seem to be pretty much nailed on to start as skipper.

  • 47 Spoof // Aug 4, 2016 at 3:02 PM

    for what it’s worth I think the back five will be Selz, Gamez, Mbemba, Lascellas and Dummett, but apart from Lascellas I can’t say that any of the others are certs, if I was to say the second most likely to start then it would be Dummett as he is the only fit left back specialist we have.

  • 48 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Aug 4, 2016 at 3:04 PM

    I think he will take some part tomorrow if not starting RAFA will bring him on sometime if he has returned from his break in good condition.

    Might bring on Clark and Diame some time also.

    The staring eleven against Vitesse won’t be far away from the starting eleven tomorrow.

    Love to see Sissoko and Diame on the last twenty minutes running at the Fulham defence

  • 49 Budge123 // Aug 4, 2016 at 3:05 PM

    Taco and others –
    Both Janmaat and Dummett suffered last year I think from having a midfield infront of them that had zero interest in tracking back. They are for me the best full backs at the club by a distance. Not seen much of Gamez but what I have seen was rubbish! Particularly the home friendly. I wouldn’t start him infront of anyone at the moment!

  • 50 Slank // Aug 4, 2016 at 3:10 PM


    When Diame is fit and ready to play who do you think he will replace ?

    If Sissoko is sold he would appear the natural replacement but what if Sissoko isn’t sold ?

  • 51 stephen1971 // Aug 4, 2016 at 6:00 PM

    no way sissoko will start imo, theres no way he,ll play as well as he did in the euros so it won,t do the club any favours, no way these clubs that are interested in him are,nt going to have people at the game to see how he gets on if he plays, let the final be his last game for the club

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