There’s a Rafa Benitez interview earlier today in ChronicleLive that we thought we would hold back until after the game this afternoon and it’s a measured and down to earth Rafa Benitez who says he is realistic but ambitious about Newcastle United in the future.
And with owner Mike at the game today it could be that Rafa gets to present his blueprint tonight, but we would have thought they may want to celebrate first.
We also assume Rafa’s wife and two teenage daughters were at the game tonight – so they can join in what will be wild celebrations in Newcastle tonight.
Rafa Benitez with the Championship trophy
In an interview earlier today Rafa Benitez was asked if he though his meeting with Mike Ashley would go well:
“Yes. I have confidence because what we have done is good,”
“When people were advising him and he decided to hire a manager like me, he knew it was: ‘OK, I’m trying to do this with this kind of manager’.
“It has been good because everybody was helping and then we did what we had to do. So I did that – secure promotion – and it was fine.
“Now, why not do the same, only at another level?” “What I am saying is that I want a competitive team.”
“Competitive means that you can win lots of games in a row and stay very high in the table, or you can lose some games but still you have the chance to win any game.”
“You can even be in the middle, but you have to avoid relegation.” “I will not say anything here so the fans will say: ‘Oh, Rafa is ambitious’.”
“It will be very easy to do that. And I don’t want them saying: ‘Oh, Rafa says avoiding relegation will be enough’.”
“No, why do I have to say anything now before I have the meeting?”
“I’ll have the meeting, we’ll see where we are, and after we will see what our targets are.”
“I can say something that will make the fans very happy if I say that [I want lots of money], or I can say something that will put Mike under pressure, and fans may say: ‘oh fantastic’.”
“But that will not change anything. I am realistic and I am ambitious.”
“I want to win as many games as I can and also, I know that, sometimes it is not easy to compete with the teams at the top of the table in terms of money.”
“But we have to make an effort because staying in the Premier League for a while means massive money and that means a lot to the fans, for the city and for the club.”
“I am not too worried about politics, I am just worried about doing my job properly and then trying to improve the team, improve every department. And that’s it.”
“It’s not that, ‘I need them’, or, ‘they need me’.” “Newcastle United is big enough to survive without me and I am old enough to survive without Newcastle United.”
“But, I am happy here? Yes.” “And I feel they are happy with me? Yes.” “So we will try to find an agreement and the best way possible.”
But Rafa will need to be incognito tonight in Newcastle – he’ll be mobbed by the Newcastle fans in appreciation for the fabulous job he has done for Newcastle United in a short 14 months.
This man was born to manage Newcastle United.
He’s certainly the Man of the Moment Newcastle at the moment and probably will be for a long time into the future.