In Spite Of All The Difficulties – Rafa Has Made Progress At Newcastle

There’s a good video piece in Chronicle Live today from Mark Douglas who suggests that Rafa may not want to leave Newcastle this summer.

Rafa is the consummate professional who seems to have been through every barrier in his long career as a successful manager.

And while he wanted more Premier League experience in his side last summer, but was unable to bring the players in, the squad Rafa has this season now seems to be learning quickly.

The way our lads played against Manchester United showed that all the hard work they do on the training field with Rafa could be starting to pay off.

Rafa Benitez – at press conference after phenomenal win against Man United

Newcastle have lost (thrown away) too many points this season by conceding late goals and not taking our chances, but the players last Sunday played as though their lives depended on winning the game.

That’s what Jose Mourinho said after the game, and Rafa has mentioned earlier in the season he expected the side to improve as the season progressed.

So even though he has had little help from the owner, Rafa continues to make the players he has into better players.

And with Kenedy, Slimani, and Dubravka in the team, we could look a different proposition in the final 11 games of the season.

But we are still wary of Mike Ashley and whether he will again restrict Rafa’s spending this summer to keep the financial books at Newcastle looking good.

Most of the local reporters, including the Chronicle’s Mark Douglas, think that Rafa will get good money to spend this summer.

And the manager has shown he can pick some bargains up – like potentially getting Dubravka for a £3.6M fee and signing the very talented Mikel Merino from Borussia Dortmund for around £6M.

So Rafa can look back on the season and yes, Mike Ashley has made it difficult for him.

But progress has been made and players like Dummett, Lascelles, Lejeune, Diame, Hayden, Richie, Murphy, Merino and others will be better players for us next season.

If we can somehow keep the three players we have on loan and get them signed permanently in the summer, then Rafa needs probably four top players to make Newcastle a threat next season.

Rafa has not only shown what a good manager he is but how he can work through the (many) problems at Newcastle – whatever they are – and make the team (and the club) better.

Whether Mike Ashley can get him to sign a new contract is debatable, but if Rafa does sign an extended deal to stay at Newcastle, it will be like manna from heaven for Newcastle fans.

Rafa’s the best thing that’s happened to Newcastle for decades.

Comments welcome.

11 comments so far

  • jane

    Feb 18, 2018 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #1

    good piece 🙂

  • Jib

    Feb 18, 2018 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #2

    Something we have never seen
    before at SJP – players improving!

    Even SBR and KK brought in off-the-peg
    ready mades.


    Surely the avatar of a politician is the first
    thing to be criticised.

    You’d sharp say something if Noggin the Nog
    from Norway had an avatar of Donald Trump.

  • AncientC

    Feb 18, 2018 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #3

    I didn’t realise Tsunki was now running the blog. Better be extra careful what is said now, we wouldn’t him taking another huff and leaving the blog for months. I have made good on not raising political topics on the blog; although I am not going to tell people what they can and cannot say on the blog—that’s not my place. I will leave the blog censoring to those that rightly (or more likely wrongly) believe it’s their place to intervene in discussions.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #4

    No not me, Ed, and Ed says he doesn’t want politics on the blog so get snotty with him.

    For reference –

    Just btw what is it about “don’t talk politics” that people don’t get? It’s like a conspiracy theorists merger with the Flat Earthers and UFO watchers club. Leave it out, nobody believes a politician and if you want to talk about them take it outside, poll boy. 🙂

    And jib, if Jesper continues his current humourless vein i doubt adding an avatar of trump would finish his profile or get a comment apart from maybe he’s turned a corner.

  • AncientC

    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #5

    “Surely the avatar of a politician is the first
    thing to be criticised.”

    Why is an avatar of a politician worthy of criticism, Jib?
    I would ask you to explain, but I am guessing you would have trouble explaining yourself, so you will just choose to ignore another blog faux-pas by your good self.

  • lochinvar

    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #6

    Turkish papers talking about Cent Tosun going back there because he can’t settle on Merseyside and work with Allardyce. Now there’s a surprise.

    So with Tosun unhappy, Sturridge unfit, Jorgensen undecided then it’s up to Slimani to upgrade our attack.

  • Ron Knee

    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #7


    “Nobody believes a politician” is talking politics, surely!

  • AncientC

    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #8

    Interesting that it’s Jib that doesn’t want to see politics discussed on the blog, but look back and see who raised the subject yesterday…

    Now Jib is casting his authoritarian glance towards avatars. The double-standards are good for a hoot though.

  • WLtoon

    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #9

    Why not invite Andrew Neil into the discussion eh? This is a football blog,, leave politics out of of it , Give us a break lads for god sake.

  • JohnJ

    Feb 18, 2018 at 6:06 PM

    Comment #10

    Yes Ancient C – guilty as charged – twas I that brought it up about this being a football blog – and no regrets about that either.

    The blog is:-

    A About Newcastle United matters

  • JohnJ

    Feb 18, 2018 at 6:07 PM

    Comment #11

    B Football matters


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