Rafa has to handle very high expectations at Newcastle United.
He is a world-class manager and yet he’s currently managing a team that’s only in England second division – the Championship.
But Rafa has explained that he joined his local club Real Madrid when he was just 13 years old and then he became a coach at the club for 10 years – so he was schooled to have the very highest of expectations.
Rafa Benitez – easily deals with expectations at Newcastle
After 20 years at Real Madrid
Rafa was immersed in the Real Madrid culture that if you didn’t finish top of the league and kept winning games you were not successful – that’s certainly true at the biggest club in the world.
Finishing second in anything is not what Real Madrid would ever call being successful.
So this is how Rafa responded today when asked how he dealt with the very high expectations at Newcastle United:
“When I was 13 years old I started playing for the Real Madrid academy.” “So to finish second was nothing.”
“You had to finish first, first, first every year.” “After I was then a coach there for 10 years.” “It was 20 years growing up with this mentality – that you have to win and finish first.”
“What I have seen after winning some games in a row here is that everyone thinks the job is done, but it certainly is not done.”
“We have to keep sending the right message and the message is we have done nothing yet.” “We need to keep working hard and keep focused for every game.”
“We know that you can lose at any time.” “The other day I was watching Aston Villa; they were losing, winning and then they ended up drawing.”
“Everything can change in one minute.”
“The Championship is so difficult and you have to be sure you keep your players on their toes until the end of the season.”
That’s just a great answer from Rafa Benitez and it puts what Newcastle are trying to do into a little bit of perspective compared to the top club in world football, Real Madrid, who Rafa was managing a year ago.
But we’d still be delighted if we get promoted this season.