Rafa Explains What He’s Trying To Do For This Season

Rafa Benitez was well known at Liverpool for changing his side every game and using his squad throughout the season.

That contrasts with other managers – such as Martin O’Neill as just one example – who played his strongest team in almost every game when he was manager of Aston Villa and Sunderland in the Premier League.

Jose Mourinho is another manager who tends to play his best team in the Premier League in each game.


Rafa Benitez – has a laugh during training

One of the problems with using the same players is they tire and even get stale towards the end of the season – and they also are prone to pick up injuries by being played too much.

That’s true in the Premier League and it’s definitely true in the Championship, where teams play so many games and long stretches where there are two games a week.

And one of the areas Rafa is trying to fix is the number of injuries Newcastle pick up each season – and so far so good – with the only real injury of the current squad being to Rolando Aarons.

Rafa has talked in the Chronicle today about how he wants to rotate his squad this season:

“It is really important for us to have two players in each position. Then they can compete for positions.”

“In the end it will be good. We need to keep them focused and feeling they are part of the group and an important member of the team, it’s what we’ll try to do.”

“Nobody is guaranteed a start not really.” “But it’s good for us.” “The difficulty now is that if you play well and we win, people wonder why we aren’t using the same players.

“But you’ll have problems with fatigue or injuries at some point.” “In two or three days it’s something you have to manage.”

“At the same time is we have to create an atmosphere where the squad is good enough.” “It’s not just 11 players or 15 players.”

“We know we’ll play a lot of games in a short time so we need to make sure we have everybody involved.”

“And even if you play well, somebody else will come in and do well for the team.”

We saw earlier in the season that nobody is guaranteed a place on the team, with Rafa dropping captain Jamaal Lascelles after two rather ordinary performances from the 22 year-old.

But the team is all important and Rafa is building up the mentality and team spirit that the team is what matters.

Sounds (very) good to us.

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9 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #1

    So KK resigning had nothing to do with the reasons he got awarded 2M pounds then. It seems like you don’t have a lot of time for the bloke, has it got anything to do with the nineties and being the worst thing that ever happened to the club. I wonder if the Leicester fans hate Ranieri the way you hate KK for giving them ideas above their stations.


    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #2

    Ok, what question was he asked? And is he wrong? As for not doing it at the unveiling why is the statue where the public toilets were rather than on St James ground? Seems fitting to bring up the club not acting like a club during an event that proves it

    And again he didnt walk out on us twice

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #3

    DubaiMickey…From previous…”The fact he sued the club says everything about the guy”

    I think the fact he sued and won, says everything about the way he was treated by the club.

    What on Earth is going on here this morning. Keegan was far from perfect, but he is a huge part of this clubs history.

    “Show me the silverware” Been following the Toon long?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #4

    Dubai Mickey,
    How often did a team score three goals against us under KK, what utter tosh to come up with a statement like that. KK loves this club as much as any fan, nobody likes the way he left the first time but he got royally shafted by Ashley and the court case proved it. You can’t just rewrite history to suit your argument.


    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #5

    It does say a lot about him, that he wouldnt stand by and let the club go to crap without fighting it. He was allowed to get his side out after that court case and he was proved right completely about Ashley

    He sued because he was lied too then forced out of the club he loves by a man who wanted nothing good for it

    Yeah pressure hurt him hes human why is that a bad thing? He care about his club and his country

    Silverware? Ask urself where this club would be without Keegan

  • Spoof

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #6

    I cannot believe that people feel that KK was wrong to walk out, Shepherd was the reason first time, remember what KK said, this club is going to be ran by men in grey suits, and he was dead right, and even when judged by his peers Ashley was found guilty, can people not equate that to constructive dismissal and do they not understand what pride is, seriously, I cannot understand how KK could ever be criticised, just ask yourself this, where would we be and what type of club would we have been without him, over the last two or so season’s Wolves have done ok by their standards, without KK we would be another Wolves where hoping that we exceed expectations and manage to gain a play-off place would be classed as a fantastic season, getting promoted even if relegation was highly expected would be welcome so we could at least visit places like Anfield and Old Trafford, I really am aghast.

  • mindshaft

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #7

    bizarre how anyone can skate KKs first stint at toon – we may not have won owt but we came the closest we’ve been and were lauded the world over for our exciting brand of football – best years of toon in my lifetime. Obviously the walkout wasn’t ideal and we went to shit with Daglish afterwards but those KK years will live with me forever
    the whole game was different on his return and I thought at the time it was probably a bad move, didn’t help with Wise and Ashley totally shafting him which was proven in court

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #8

    According to Jib, if it wasn’t for KK we’d still be playing in a corrugated shed and be much happier for it, if it wasn’t for him showing us what it was like to mix it with the big boys we’d be quite content as a mid table Championship club. The KK entertainers ruined all that for everyone.

  • Bowjaw

    Sep 13, 2016 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #9

    People complain when we have a puppet yes man like Pardew in charge and people complain when some body fights back and stands up for what they believe is right.
    They say you can’t please everyone but it seems like you can’t please any one.


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