Maybe the simplest way to look at the way Rafa Benitez thinks about football is that he concentrates only on the next game and tries to win it.
He will pick the team he thinks can win the game, comes up with a game plan to win the game – but that’s not unlike what we’ve heard other managers say.
But Rafa seems to take that to a whole new level and in his pre-match interviews he will not even talk about the game after the current one, such is his total single-mindedness.
Rafa Benitez – wants to win a trophy
In his interviews for the game at Hull City tonight he explained that philosophy again yesterday and said he would not risk a player in a cup game – however important that cup game was:
“If we have a chance to win a trophy, I will try to win a trophy. That is 100% sure.” “But I will not risk anyone just with this idea. I want to do well in every single game.”
“If we can go through, then we will keep going.” “But if I have one or two players with problems, I will not play them just because I want to be in the semi-final.”
“I don’t want to lose a player for one month when I need the player for every single game.”
“If we cannot go through, I will say that we were not strong enough to compete in both these competitions at the maximum level.”
“After, we will have the FA Cup and it will be the same approach.” “I will not say, ‘I have to play the best team possible’. If I have to risk one or two players, it makes no sense.”
Notice that Rafa wants to win a trophy this season if he can – he doesn’t shy away from that.
Hull City are not in good shape at the moment on or off the pitch; they are 3rd bottom of the Premier League and have some injury concerns for tonight’s game.
But they are also a Premier League side and we are used to playing Championship sides.
Newcastle must have a decent chance of going through tonight – if we can get a bit of luck.
If we do win the tie tonight that will make up for Saturday’s huge disappointment, but then we will have to win at Nottingham Forest in Friday night to get back on track in the league.
We cannot let the other clubs catch us this season.