Jamaal Lascelles has had some up and down form this season, but he was still good enough to make the Championship Team of the Season and he’s improved a lot under Rafa’s guidance this term.
Benitez showed massive confidence in the former Nottingham Forest player when he made him the club captain last summer at the ripe old age of 22.
Jamaal is nothing if not an honest young player trying to improve his game as fast as he can – and he’s given a very good interview in the Chronicle today.
Jamaal Lascelles and players celebrate on Monday night
Jamaal wants to thank the Newcastle fans for their simply unbelievable support of the team this season – the best supported side in the Championship with a modern day home record attendance of over 51,000 at St. James’ Park.
This is some of that Lascelles has told the Chronicle today:
“I’d love to say thank you to all the fans that stuck with us through hard times.”
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs but they have been there at home and away games.”
“They sing for us every single game. As players, we know it has been frustrating for them and we have made it harder than it should be.”
“I want to take the time to appreciate and be thankful to the fans for what they have done. We are really thankful.”
“Overall it has been quite an emotional season in terms of ups and down, but we got the job done.”
“We have another game on Friday so hopefully we can put more pressure on Brighton.” “I will always do my best.”
“I’ve never known a city like this. Every single person from Newcastle supports Newcastle United.”
“They are so passionate about the team and will do anything to support it.”
“We’ll always try our best. Sometimes games aren’t as good as the fans want but it’s never complacency.”
“Maybe we have suffered from anxiety and pressure, but the expectation has been there.”
“For some players that can be hard to take in but we managed to show our talent and endeavour.”
“The manager’s tactics have pushed us over the line. We just say thanks to the fans.”
“We will take criticism at times but that is life as sportsmen.”
“Everybody makes mistakes, but at the same time, we got the job done.”
Those are really good words there from the captain.
It would be nice to finish with two wins at Cardiff City tomorrow night and at home against Barnsley a week on Sunday, when it should be celebration and thanksgiving day for Newcastle United.
It will also be Rafa Benitez’ day when we can all look back on the last 12 months and be thankful for our good fortune that we have been promoted immediately back to the Premier League.
That was not the case for Aston Villa or Norwich, who didn’t make the playoffs.
It’s been some journey over these last nine months since the season started back in early August with two successive defeats at Fulham and at home to Huddersfield – who were the surprise team of the season.
The person who was the prime-mover in getting us promoted was of course the great Rafa Benitez.
We need to let him know and owner Mike Ashley know – the Spanish manager is the man to bring our club back to greatness.
And we hope Rafa does it quickly!
Howay The Lads!