Rafa Benitez has been interviewed in the Chronicle and other local papers today – and he has been asked about the potential record of winning 10 successive games for the first time in our long history, if we can beat an improving Blackburn Rovers side today at home.
The game will be played in a packed out St. James’ Park where the long-suffering fans cannot get enough of Rafa’s side winning 16 of the last 18 games in all competitions.
That’s after we had that wobbly start with those two successive league defeats at Fulham and at home to Huddersfield.
Rafa Benitez – with his players and coaches at Benton
Rafa has made it clear he only wants to win the game today and in the next game he will only want to win that one too.
That game happens to be the quarter finals of the League Cup at Hull City on Tuesday night, so maybe he will bring in some other players for today’s game?
Rafa admits it’s good to both win games and break records too:
“Any victory for me, any three points, I am really proud of that.” “If you break a record it’s even better.”
“But believe me I’m not even thinking about that.” “I would be really pleased but I am not thinking about it.”
“But I will say that, in my experience, if you think too much about that then you can come unstuck.” “So you have to concentrate on this game.”
“It is a difficult game for us because obviously we have done well, but we have had some good players on the bench.”
“So maybe we will have to change some players in some positions, and we know that the other team is getting better.”
“It’s not that Blackburn are at the bottom and they are not doing anything.” “No, they are improving and we have seen some games and in the clips we have seen, they are playing well.”
“It is a more difficult game for us because everyone is expecting that we will win so they have nothing to lose.”
“We have to make sure that that is not the case and we don’t approach the game with over-confidence.”
“Hopefully the players will feel the same in a positive way,” “If they continue winning, they will be part of this record or success or whatever.”
“But in a positive way because otherwise we will be under pressure.”
“We must forget about it and not let it put us under pressure. We must try to do things in the same way.
“If you are doing something right, then keep doing it; don’t be worried about the consequences if you know it’s right – just keep going.”
Rafa could make some big changes for the side today given that we have to visit Hull City on Tuesday night and then Nottingham Forest on Friday night, so the games are coming thick and fast.
But we only expect maybe three or four changes today from the side that beat Leeds United 2-0 in the previous game.
Here is the team we think Rafa will start this afternoon.
Yedlin Lascelles (c) Clark Dummett
Ritchie Diame Gouffran
What’s your team for today?