After the game last night Rafa Benitez was pleased and excited that he and his coaching staff and players have managed to pull off what is really difficult these days.
Being relegated one season and going straight back up in an automatic promotion spot the next – it’s been done now only twice in the last six seasons.
Gone are the days when it was regular in any way – the Championship is a lot tougher than it was seven years ago.
Jamaal Lascelles, Rafa Benitez and Vurnon Anita after the game
Rafa delivers the goods!
That’s what Rafa with the team he built last summer did last night against Preston at St. James’ Park in a very good 4-1 win when our boys really delivered the goods.
Rafa basically built a whole new team last summer when he brought in 12 players with the excellent assistance and hard work of Managing Director Lee Charnley.
After the game last night he was delighted and happy but yet refused to commit to Newcastle for next season.
Rafa was asked if he still expected to be in charge at Newcastle next season:
Here’s Rafa’s long and interesting response to that question as reported in the Guardian:
“You never know.”
“That is football. I am really pleased to be here, and really happy and proud for everything we have achieved.’
“Hopefully, we can put in the foundations for something that will be a guarantee for the future.”
“The fans have been amazing with me, their loyalty means everything. Having this city behind you means everything, they should have a top team.”
“That is why I decided to stay after relegation in 2016, and now I am even happier than before that I made this decision. I am really proud and really pleased.”
“Now is the time to enjoy what we have done. But then I must make sure we do the right things, we have to prepare everything to be strong enough for the Premier League.”
“It feels really good,” “I’m really proud of everyone because we knew it would be difficult. At the beginning everyone was saying, ‘Rafa has no experience of the Championship and it will be tough’.”
“They were right, it was very difficult, but the commitment and hard work of the players every day, and the staff and everyone involved, and then the support of the fans, has made a massive difference.”
“It is a day we have to remember because it is not easy to go down, and then come straight back up. This is my third promotion so I have some experience.”
“But the Championship is so hard because you have to play so many games, and it is so physical. It is very difficult to play three games in a week.
“This division is totally different, you have to change half your squad after relegation.” You have to perform and win, and keep all the fans behind the team.”
“We had to put everything together quickly last summer but we did it.” “So I say credit to our players, our staff and everyone in the club.”
“Some people don’t realise how difficult it is when you go to play against teams who are in the middle of the table and playing for nothing.”
“But they still fight and compete because they are playing against Newcastle United, who are the top side in the division.”
“Or when they come here with 52,000 fans, and they run and work so hard. It has been like that for every single game against us.”
“We watched some teams and thought it might be easy against them, but then they were running double because they were playing us.”
“It was more difficult than ever, and we have had that situation every single week. That has meant we have had to keep going, work hard and be strong mentally.”
“But even when there were signs of anxiety, we reacted well.”
It seems that Rafa was really upset at Mike Ashley in January for pulling the rug (full of money) from under him.
Rafa expects people to keep their agreements in the contracts he signs – most people do.
But it looks like any money he was promised in January wasn’t given to him and he didn’t like that one little bit.
But it’s still got to be long shot that he will leave Newcastle.
First of all he loves the players and the fans and secondly he will not get the opportunity of total control at many other big football clubs in England, which is where he now wants to manage to be close to his family in the Wirral, Cheshire.
Benitez now holds all the cards and if Mike Ashley doesn’t come clean and continue to let him run the club (with executive assistance from Lee Charnley) on all football matters there could be trouble brewing.
Rafa also needs some serious money this summer to start building maybe one of the best teams in our history – he doesn’t want the owner to tie two hands behind his back as he tries to make Newcastle great again.
If he doesn’t get these things then Rafa could walk.
That would be both ridiculous and tragic and then Ashley would have nowhere to go but to sell up.
We don’t think MIke will do that – we really don’t.
It’s good news on the horizon for Newcastle United Football Club – I feel that in my heart.