Rafa Lauds Important Player – Creates Winning Mentality

Rafa Benitez was pleased with Mohamed Diame’s first half performance at Bristol City on Saturday and the Senegal International set up Dwight Gayle brilliantly for what turned out to be the winning goal after 19 minutes.

Benitez brought in the 29 year-old to provide some powerful midfield attacking threat to the side  and possibly as a replacement for Moussa Sissoko should the Frenchman leave the club before the end of August, which now looks likely with Inter-Milan said to be close to a deal.

mohamed Diame bristol

Mohamed Diame – very good first half on Saturday

Rafa Benitez commented on Mo Diame after the game on Saturday:

“He has to improve physically and then he will be an important player for us, because he is not scared to keep the ball and try to dribble with it.”

“He needs to be a little bit fitter and then hopefully he can be another player with quality who can make the difference in some matches.”

Diame was injured last Saturday and missed Wednesday’s game but he should be a lot fitter soon and hopefully we’ll get 90 minutes of powerful play from the midfielder – he can become a top player for us this season.

Rafa continues to make three or four changes for each game as he is committed to use the full squad when we are playing two games a week as we are now and through next Saturday then the two week International break starts.

Captain Jamaal Lascelles was dropped on Wednesday night for the 4-1 win against Reading with two rather mediocre performances in the first two games, both of which we lost.

But that’s how Rafa will handle the squad this season and every player must be ready when called on.

This is what Rafa said about his system, which he has used at other clubs like Liverpool, when the schedule was hectic with games in Europe:

“That is the way; I will change players because I want to keep fresh players on the pitch and playing two games a week.”

“Sometimes you have to change people around.”  “I want to keep the squad thinking they can play, and they have to be ready.”

“We will need everyone, and if they don’t play, like Lascelles the other day, they have to put me in a position where it is difficult to pick the team.”

“That is the way to be competitive and have the winning mentality.”  “To complain and not do the job is not the way, and they know that.”

“It is a great message for the rest of the season.”

It was an excellent win on Saturday – no doubt about that – and a clean sheet for the first time this season.

It showed the lads are getting battle hardened and are starting to learn what it will take to grind out wins in the Championship this season.

That’s got to be good – very good.

Comments welcome.