Newcastle if anything have overcompensated in the summer when we brought in 12 players and Rafa ensured that in every single position we have two top players – and sometimes more than that – pushing for a start.
The Newcastle manager has about 25 players in his first team squad – all good players – and they are all fit except Rob Elliot and Rolando Aarons at the moment, so it’s going to be difficult for Rafa to give them playing time and keep them happy.
Rafa Benitez at QPR – he looks fairly happy
This is how Rafa explained his “problem” at Newcastle:
“Mitrovic did well, but so did Ayoze around him and the wingers and defenders.”
“The goalkeeper Matz Sels did well too, and everybody who came off the bench. “Everybody is pushing.”
“To have this problem of Mitrovic, Ayoze, Gayle or Daryl Murphy is a good problem every game.”
“It is not easy to keep everybody happy.”
“Hopefully, we continue winning, and if we have to change players, they will understand it is for the good for the team.”
The current situation is a lot different from the last few years when we didn’t have a big squad and we picked up so many injuries all the time so the team often picked itself and we overplayed our players.
So if we had a had a good player in one position and we were supposed to be after another good player in that position in the transfer window – we would say we don’t need them.
That was the simplistic mentality at the club before Rafa joined Newcastle United.
Rafa will have had a lot of experience keeping good players happy at the other big clubs he has managed.
The key is getting the players to realize they are contributing to the team in training and as part of the 25 man squad, even if they don’t play too much in the first team.
The very fact that we have good player pushing to start means those that when players do play they are likely to play very well just to keep their place.
That’s a very good thing to have in any squad – real competition for places.
It’s just that Newcastle haven’t had a strong and a big squad for a long long time.
It’s a sea change at Newcastle, but it’s what all top clubs have – and Rafa Benitez is making Newcastle into a top team and a top club again.
We can see that happening in front of our eyes – it’s simply inspiring to see it after the last four years which have been terrible and often shameful – if the truth be told.
After thrashing QPR away 6-0 on Tuesday night, we simply must keep our winning streak up – there can be no let up.
Next up is Wolverhampton at home on Saturday afternoon and we must get all 3 points from the game.
Good teams beat the teams in front of them – that’s what we have to do on Saturday afternoon.