Rafa Benitez has a fairly ordinary squad this season in the Premier league, and pundits are surprised we are up there in the top half of the league table after 9 games played during which we have acquired a good 14 points.
Ande Newcastle have a chance to go 6th top of the league and above Liverpool with a win at Turf Moor tonight although that will be a tough game.
Rafa is trying to raise the standards of his players and what they expect from themselves and from the team.
The manager wants to win every single game or at least be competitive in every game – and an excellent example of that was the last match at home to Crystal Palace.
It was an awful game to watch but with just 4 minutes to go, Mikel Merino, raised the morale of the Newcastle fans with a good headed goal and all 3 points.
Rafa Benitez – we must compete against every team
Rafa has talked about how to win and what he wants from his players this season – as reported in the Chronicle:
“You have to win and try. We will look at it again in January and the reason I say that is because by then we will have played the top sides and you will be exactly where you are for a reason.”
“People might say now, you haven’t played City, United or Arsenal so it might be different, which is why I’m not going to start saying ‘oh, we’re amazing’.”
“In January you might be saying to me ‘You’ve lost five games in a row and you are a disaster’.”
“I want us to compete against every team. We have to be ready to get 3 points against any team – afterwards maybe a draw is a good result, you never know.”
“But the team has to play with confidence because they are well organized and working hard and you can see the level of the other teams.”
“If you do well, why can’t you win?”
Over half of the Newcastle fans think we can win this game tonight – and that would be an excellent result.
Here’s where we are in the league table, and 3 points will take us one point ahead of Rafa’s former club – Liverpool.