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.