We have missed Ciaran Clark a lot since he got injured in the 3-1 loss at home to Fulham.
And if Ciaran had been playing we wouldn’t be in the relatively poor position we are in now, where Huddersfield can still catch us unless we wake up and start winning some games again.
Brighton are promoted and will almost certainly go up as Champions and who would have thought that a short two weeks and three games ago?
Ciaran Clark in training
The 27 year-old Irish international has given an interview in the Chronicle today where he explains why Rafa is world-class and how he goes about getting the best out of his players.
At the beginning of the season Rafa was keen that his players knew more about controlling games and the tactics that are used in various game situations and Ciaran seems to have taken all that information on board.
This is what Ciaran has said about Rafa as reported in the Chronicle:
“It has been a total change for me, Rafa Benitez is a real man-manager and he wants you to get involved and learn.”
“He wants to teach you and improve you as a player – if he does that then it improves the team.”
“He works hard on defensive shape and positional stuff, it’s something I have probably not had as a player in my career.”
“I feel like I am learning so much and hopefully I can keep doing it, I feel like I have learned more about the game.”
“To have that winning feeling and the confidence it brings shows on the pitch, hopefully I can keep playing the way I have been.”
“It is a real positive place and we are all on the training pitch and on match days we have confidence.”
“You can see that from results and performances we have put it in – Rafa Benitez keeps everybody positive and drills into you not to be complacent.”
“That is the key really, we have a good bunch of lads here and nobody gets too ahead of themselves.”
Clark has put in a good season for us and is likely to be even better next season in the Premier League (still an assumption) and if Rafa brings in a top center-back as is expected we wonder where Jamaal Lascelles will play.
Jamaal has been a little lackadaisical recently at the back, but of course he’s still young.
There are now only three games left and two are at home and 5 points from those game will definitely nail our automatic promotion spot.
But the sooner the better for worried Newcastle fans, after we have slumped and taken a measly one point from the last nine – not a good time to choke.