Rafa Benitez is the most celebrated manager who has graced the England second division – the Championship – in decades and the officials running the league must be delighted with the way he has respected the league and the teams in it during the run-up to the season.
Rafa is no fool and he knows it will be a tough and difficult season for us and this stuff about walking away with the league could be very fanciful unless everybody at the club keeps their feet firmly on the ground and we have to respect every team we play.
Rafa Benitez – has no illusions
Rafa is in big demand for interviews before the Championship kicks off tonight at Fulham and the famous Craven Cottage ground in Newcastle’s first Championship fixture for over six years.
Rafa has been interviewed by the English Football league (EFL) and this is what he had to say:
“It will be very different to what I’ve experienced recently, but it’s a challenge,”
“I wanted to stay here, to be close to the family and be in the UK.” “Newcastle United are a big side and it’s a great opportunity. The club is a sleeping giant, as they say.”
“The biggest target for us is to get promoted. It’s our aim to go up and we have to do everything perfectly, because it’s a division where the other teams are all working very hard and have talent of their own.”
“They also know the Championship a lot better than we do.” “So it’s about getting it perfect, and making sure we go up at the end of the season.”
“The position in pre-season has been trying to get to know the players, the staff and everyone connected with the club.”
“It’s the same for the players – to get to know each other. After they’ve done this, then they can play a lot better together and win games. The main thing has been to stay together and familiarise ourselves.”
“We’ve got a good squad with a few young players who have got great potential.” “Adam Armstrong has been training with us this summer after scoring a lot of goals away on loan last season.”
“Rolando Aarons is another exciting player in our squad. Hopefully they can have good seasons and contribute to the team.”
The squad seems very strong and it’s still not known if Rafa will keep Adam Armstrong on Tyneside this season or send him out on loan.
Rafa has said he wants three more players brought in but it will depend on whether players like Moussa Sissoko and Cheick Tiote leave the club before September rolls around.
It will be a tought game at Craven Cottage tonight but three in four fans think we can win the game.
We’ll know soon enough.