Rafa was a little late to his press conference this afternoon but he has given it and he says this festive period of games coming up for Newcastle will be crucial.
We have six games to play through January 1st including games against Arsenal and Manchester City
Lascelles and Atsu are fit but Rafa has said he has not decided which team to start tomorrow night against an improving Everton side.
Paul Dummett is getting stronger but Rafa hints he will have to wait before Paul is fully fit to play in the first team again.
And on the transfer front, Rafa and his scouts are working hard – and it seems if we are to survive this season in the Premier League – which is the sole goal – we need bring some good players in during the January transfer window.
That will be imperative.
Rafa Benitez – at his press conference
Here’s some of what Rafa had to say today:
“The festive period is always crucial. But it will be crucial in January, in April. Every game is important. We have to go and try to get three points in the next game.”
“Hopefully we will win and things will be easier. We don’t need to think about a run of games, losing or winning. We concentrate on the next one and see after that.”
“Some games we are the youngest team in the @premierleague. We have to learn quickly. This team is working very hard. Little things we have to improve and we will be stronger.”
“We know our job. Everyone has an opinion. It’s not rocket science – we need players in some positions. If we can, fine, if not, we will have to work harder.”
“A lot of teams around of us have spent a lot of money and are still around us. We need to stay calm, work harder and we will start winning games.”
“Everton are a good team with good players. They know they need to win more games away. Maybe they will be more open, but you never know. We have to control things that are in our hands.”
“I don’t play against other managers. It’s about the team you have. Sam Allardyce is a good manager with experience but hopefully, we can beat Everton.”
“Jamaal Lascelles was nearly there last Saturday. Having players with character and personality when things aren’t going wrong is good. I haven’t picked the team yet.”
“Paul Dummett is getting better but still we have to wait. If everybody is available, hopefully, we can be as solid as we were earlier in the season.”
“We are working hard with scouts, watching players everywhere.”
What we need to see is as Rafa says – the defense being strong again – it’s hard to win over the last five games when we have let in an average of 3 goals a game!
So the first thing is for Newcastle to be a lot better defensively and then maybe Dwight Gayle and Joselu up front can continue to work well together as they did last Saturday with both scoring a goal.
Our fans, however, are not too confident of a win tomorrow night.
A win would be absolutely terrific!