Rafa Benitez is still hoping Newcastle can sign a player before the Premier League kicks off for us on Sunday.
And every time Rafa talks nowadays you understand the manager is disappointed that he hasn’t got what was promised to him from owner Mike Ashley.
But he’s not sulking away either and knows every Newcastle fan is right behind him and trusts him implicitly – that has to be a big boost for the manager.
Rafa is trying to level-set the fans that it will be an entirely different season from last season when we were usually better than the opposition and won 29 of the 46 games on our way to winning the Championship.
But he seems ready for the fight – the challenge – and even implies he is still happy at Newcastle.
Rafa Benitez – trying season – another challenge
Let’s face it the Newcastle fans are massive to Rafa Benitez, and he knows he has the best support in the land if he can somehow persuade a certain Mike Ashley to spend money at the club.
The fans just love their manager, and Rafa knows it.
But more importantly, we look forward to when Ashley has somewhere near Rafa’s enormous ambitions for the club.
And we wonder a lot when, if ever, that will happen – probably not in my lifetime.
Rafa has been quoted in the Mail today, and this is what the world-class Newcastle United manager has said:
“This is a totally different challenge. Last year we were much better than the other teams in 70 per cent of the games and we had to manage expectations.”
“This year it could be the total opposite, so we have to make sure we are mentally strong when we are losing.”
“We have to be happy because we are back in the Premier League, but the only way we can have good aspirations is to improve the squad now.”
“It’s a long time ago.” “I didn’t have any problem because when I decided to stay with Extremadura I had the same idea that I have now.”
“I was happy in the village and I said that we could only do our best.”
“So I have been at teams before where it was difficult to win. You have to manage in a different way.”
“The main thing is to be sure that you have a strong mentality in the team.”
“The name of the manager doesn’t matter – it’s about the team.”
“If you have the right tools you can compete and do different things. When you have a very strong team then it doesn’t matter if the manager isn’t good enough because you can still win.”
“In my experience, I have seen a lot of managers win only because their players are so good.”
“People outside think the one who wins is a great manager, but sometimes it is only because of the team. The thing that matters most is the players.”
“The reality is that the best managers in the Premier League have been there a while and they have been able to spend some money on top-class players, so they have a better squad than we have.”
“So you can be a good manager but lose games because your team is not good enough.”
So things are going to be very different for Rafa at Newcastle next season when usually in his career he has been challenging for and winning trophies.
Shame on you Mike Ashley.
But – good news – there’s still time to bring in three good players this month – so a word (plea?) to Mike Ashley.
Please support the world-class manager you have at the club who still wants to stay at Newcastle despite all the difficulties.
That cannot be hard surely?