Benitez was criticized at Liverpool when he didn’t let the players know the team until on the day of the match.
He does the same thing at Newcastle, and he didn’t let Dubravka know he would be playing until just two hours before the game started on Saturday.
But it all turned out well, and Rafa probably didn’t want the Slovakian International to think too much about the game had he know he was playing earlier.
It all turned out well, and Martin Dubravka is already well known in the Premier League after that terrific performance on his debut.
Rafa Benitez congratulates Martin Dubravka after the game
Martin is a team player and seems like a smashing guy too.
Here’s what Dubravka has said as reported in the Shields Gazette:
“Two hours before the game. I still didn’t know that I would be playing.”
“It was an amazing feeling because we won against a very strong team and I’m very happy that we won as a team.”
“It was very important for me because when you are in a new club, you are trying to do your best, show people that you deserve to be here.”
“Important for me was the first touch with the ball, you’re trying to help the players and I was happy at that moment I could pass a good ball and stay calm and just enjoy the game.”
“We knew at the beginning that we were not in a good position (3rd bottom) so we tried to do our best and go higher.”
“I just tried to enjoy the game like every other one before, the other players helped me, especially in the second half.”
“I’m also very happy for them, we have the three points.”
“We needed to stay calm and keep the ball away from the box, help each other, not just kick the ball away, keep it a little bit more.
“I think we did well, especially that last 10 minutes – under pressure but we were still trying to play football, not just kick the balls away.”
“We have a better feeling than before the game, higher in the league and hopefully we can have more performances like this and take more points from the away games.”
Martin is right there – we have to take points from every game.
And if Martin can perform like that for us in the final 11 games of the season we should do well.
But it’s wins (and more wins) that we need.
And if we can survive this season it should be an exciting summer for fans, especially if Newcastle can get new owners in before June.