Rafa Benitez Lays Down The Law For His Players In The Premier League

After the game yesterday against Verona Rafa seemed happy enough with the performance of the team, and certainly, they looked well organized and compact – like a Rafa Benitez team in fact.

So from what we could tell from yesterday, every player knows what they have to do and we seem well set for a tough first game in the Premier League against Tottenham next Sunday.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating of course, and we’ll see how the lads perform against one of the top clubs in the Premier League.

Great shot of a smiling Rafa Benitez in training last season

Tottenham Hotspur is a rising force again in English football, and they finished second top of the Premier League last term after finishing 3rd top the season before.

That was after we beat them 5-1 at home in May of last year in our last game in the PL and knocked them into 3rd place in the league table and allowed their north London rivals Arsenal to finish above them in second place.

Rafa was asked after the game about his team selection for the Tottenham game, and this is what Rafa said as reported in the Shields Gazette:

“In the last two games, the majority can be there.” “But we have time and I like the competition between players.”

“The main thing is that – like last season – we need competition in every department.” “Then players will realize you have to give everything.”

“It’s not the Championship anymore – it’s the Premier League.” “Everybody has to create problems for me.”

“If they work hard and train well, I have to decide who to pick.”

“It was an entertaining game for the fans,” “We scored two goals, had other chances and tried to do what we wanted to do.”

“We moved the ball quickly, regained it as soon as possible when giving it away and tried to have a high tempo.”

“There were a lot of positives. It’s our last friendly and had nothing to do with the Premier League, but we tried to do the things we wanted to do.”

Dwight Gayle didn’t play yesterday and wasn’t in the squad at all as he seems to be having some slight problems in training with his troublesome hamstring.

We hope he will be fit for the Tottenham game, but it shows just how weak we are in the striker position with only Aleksandar Mitrovic now fit enough to lead the line.

DeAndre Yedlin is also out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury, but the good news is that his replacement – new boy Javier Manquillo – looked good and set up the first goal yesterday for Newcastle.

We’ll know better next Sunday night just how well our team can do in the Premier League in the coming season.

But a win against Spurs would be simply terrific.

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25 comments so far

  • toontaff2

    Aug 7, 2017 at 7:44 AM

    Comment #1

    Joselu for 12m, must mean Riverelinho is worth at least a tenner.
    Surely Hanley at centre half and captain, would give a few Championship teams a better chance of promotion – Wolves, Leeds, Hull, Birmingham .
    Krul, Haidara only have until next June left on their contracts, so that deal they were doing for Haidara, free but with 50% sell on fee due to us, seems our best bet, though 50%of nowt is nowt!
    Henri Saivet will be a difficult one to shift anywhere.

  • clinath@ed

    Aug 7, 2017 at 7:59 AM

    Comment #2

    Talksport claiming Rafa has spoken out about our lack of transfer dealings…..can anyone find any direct quotes?

  • TyneMouth

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:03 AM

    Comment #3

    RE-POST FROM earlier;

    The last game we played in the Premier League was against Tottenham Hotspur, which we won 5-1, a bitter-sweet moment.

    This was the team that started that match, the tenth game of Rafa Benítez’s time as manager.


    This is possibly the team that will start next Sunday’s game against the same opposition;


    Which is the better team? obviously Dummett is in both line-ups. However, on the basis of last year’s team performance, the new additions, (so far!) and the pre-season form, the new team has to be worth a reasonable degree of confidence.

    How many of the 2016 side would you include in the 2017/18 team? home and away, looking at you Winaldum!

    Time will tell obviously, but my jug is comfortably more than half full!

  • lochinvar

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:07 AM

    Comment #4

    “Competition in every department” is what Rafa wants and at the moment I don’t see it in the striker department so that’s the gap that we need Perez to fill.

    As to Talksport whinging about Rafa’s lack of transfers can’t they count or see what we’ve done so far ? Wouldn’t be surprised if some other PL clubs have recruited more but that’s due to their lack of quality in their existing squads and some of their new players may not be of the highest quality – Huddersfield for example.

    Quality not quantity will be the difference.

  • toon kk

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:11 AM

    Comment #5

    Gayle could have problems on and off all season with his hamstring, something pacey players can have trouble shaking off. All the more reason to get another striker in.

  • Jib

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:13 AM

    Comment #6

    I posted them on the previous
    I cannot be arsed to repost

  • hibbit

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:15 AM

    Comment #7

    Rumor at the game yesterday

    Gayle having scan this morning ??????????

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:21 AM

    Comment #8

    Do we think that the CB pairing will be Clarke Lejuene and if so what happens to Lascelles captaincy.

  • Bambams

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:22 AM

    Comment #9

    Perez took his goal well. Just seen it on SSN

  • Jib

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:22 AM

    Comment #10


  • toontaff2

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Comment #11

    Hope Dummett is ok.
    Was an awful challenge.
    Were those Italians using mummy bandages or Babe Ruth’s pants? Strange kit.

  • clinath@ed

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:25 AM

    Comment #12

    Cheers Jib

  • Jib

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:26 AM

    Comment #13

    Shelvey’s game pretty much requires him to be captain
    he was the stand – in captain last season
    Being captain allows Jonjo to get away with being excessively vocal to a greater extent.

  • Bambams

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:26 AM

    Comment #14


    I would not be surprised to see on occasions three at the back. But as it stands it looks like the two CB’s will be Clark and Lejuene.

    Could he keep the captaincy as he ‘recovers’ from last season’s op. Maybe Shelvey as his no 2 could take the armband.

    Or are we waiting for our new captain coming in…. (Reina)

  • firebug666

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:26 AM

    Comment #15

    I’m still optimistic for this season, and quietly confident of a top half finish. Rafa is right there were a lot of positives from yesterdays game, but the Hellas Verona team was a bit reminiscent of us two seasons ago. Couldn’t string two passes together, bombed forwards with the ball but no end product.

    I reckon Rafa will get his striker before the end of the window, and maybe one or two others, he says he has three or four targets for every position he wants to fill if he fails on one he moves on to another.

    It has been a very frustrating window so far, but maybe the prices will relax in the last week of the window.

  • toontaff2

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:27 AM

    Comment #16

    Mitro petulant again – took a sneaky kick at one of their players and his ‘f***’s sake’ could be heard very plainly up in the stand – after kicking the Wolfsburg keeper up the arse, he still has that feel of a red card waiting to happen.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:34 AM

    Comment #17

    Morning lads…

    I was reading through the treads this morning and cracked a smile…it seems we have trouble signing players because of the fees and wages being demand, but at the same time we cannot even give our own players away 😉

    …makes you wonder a little bit doesn’t it! It’s definitely worth your while signing the right kind of players to begin with…even thought they might not be the success you hoped for!

  • Lindisfarne

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:36 AM

    Comment #18

    The difference between the first game if the PL and the last, is that Spurs will not have their flip-flops on. We may get lucky if they are complacent about walking over a newly promoted side, but surely they will have learnt from last time.

  • geordie157

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:41 AM

    Comment #19

    I still think we need four players, left back, no 10 and two strikers.

    All it takes is a couple injuries and we’ll be seriously weakened.

    However we do have more players who have more pride in wearing the shirt, would rather have a Ritchie than a Sissoko, a Merino than a Wijnaldum.

    Are there any plans for a Tiote tribute vs Spurs?

  • TyneMouth

    Aug 7, 2017 at 8:53 AM

    Comment #20


    “It’s definitely worth your while signing the right kind of players to begin with…even thought they might not be the success you hoped for!”

    What a wonderful contradiction!

    Is that the same as saying; “It’s definitely worth your while deliberately signing the wrong kind of players to begin with… Even though they might turn out to be surprisingly successful”

    That might work! (Not)…

  • RUNAWAY777

    Aug 7, 2017 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #21

    Toontaff2 posh seats bro you not enjoy yourself 4.60 a drink I say f@ck that have your drink before you go in mate get yourself in the Percy arms

  • catchy in norway

    Aug 7, 2017 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #22

    seems to me clubs are no longer willing to pay anything, and our club is no different. PSG is just laundering money when they spend 200mil on 1 player. FIFA needs to get a hold on this because footballers have not suddenly become 10x better than 10 year ago, imo there isn’t the same amount of world class players about as there was then

  • c-dog

    Aug 7, 2017 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #23

    The squad isn’t bad. But if 2 players in particular got injured we be goosed.

  • RUNAWAY777

    Aug 7, 2017 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #24

    Anybody watching sky sports Brighton new training ground 32 million and signing players and one about to sign from Psv something wrong here like the size of our club to there’s?


    Aug 7, 2017 at 4:38 PM

    Comment #25

    We are pleading poverty, where has the money gone? 60 mil from Liverpool & Spurs +parachute payment. Hudersfield out spend us on one player , I think fatty is at it again


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