Rafa Benitez has talked after the 2-1 win at home to Wigan on Saturday afternoon (phew!) about his players – and that they are not used to winning games.
That’s very true, because last season with the woeful Steve McClaren in charge for 28 of the 38 Premier League games, we won only 9 games and three of those were when Rafa Benitez was the manager.
So we were (sadly) relegated and while Rafa brought in 12 new players in the summer, they were not exactly top players who agreed to join a second division side.
Those we got from the Premier League generally came from clubs in the lower half of the table.
Rafa Benitez in training
But the 56 year-old Spanish manager still made some great signings last summer and he was well assisted by Managing Director Lee Charnley.
Of course Rafa will not take anything for granted – that’s not who this man is – but he has admitted our lads are starting to show the character of winners.
This is what he has said over the weekend as reported in the Northern Echo today:
“In the end we were relegated, so these players don’t have that experience of being at the top.”
“The players we’ve bought haven’t won trophies, so all the expectations here in front of the fans, we have been top all season more or less, it’s not easy.”
“People are saying these players have come from the Premier League – yes, but not from the top of the table, or ones winning the league.”
“These players were in the middle or the bottom of the table, so we had to create an attitude where they play with confidence and have a winning mentality.”
It was certainly tough for our lads on Saturday afternoon against Wigan – a side fighting against relegation, but it was still a fabulous result.
Fans were relieved to say the least, after we had taken only two points from our previous three games.
And now we have Burton Albion visiting on Wednesday night and that could be even more difficult.
The Brewers beat the Terriers 1-0 on their own ground on Saturday with the winning goal coming a full six minutes into stoppage time.
We need another win on Wednesday night – it’s really as simple as that.