Rafa Benitez is a cool customer, and that’s one of the traits that make him a world-class manager.
He never gets too upbeat or excited with a win and never gets too down or upset when we lose.
He keeps himself on an even keel and that calmness transfers to the players.
We could see that in our last game when our players were just fabulous all game long and especially in those final 15 minutes of non-stop action.
Rafa has talked about a couple of things – the first is Matt Ritchie finally getting his first goal of the season after hitting the woodwork too many times.
Rafa Benitez talks to his captain during Stoke game
And he has addressed the rumors that Chelsea want his captain Jamal Lascelles in the summer.
In talking about Jamaal, he hints he could stay at Newcastle for years to come – Jamaal and Rafa himself that is.
This is what he said about those two players as reported in the Northern Echo today:
“It’s a vicious circle, as you say here. When someone is not scoring (like Matt Ritchie) and they’re desperate to score, rather than relaxing they put more effort into it.”
“Sometimes more effort is worse, rather than staying calm in front of goal.”
“He (Jamaal Lascelles) signed a contract extension this year, so we’re calm, we’re happy with that and hopefully he can continue learning and growing and improving.”
“He’s a player with all the potential to do well and I think it’s too soon for him to move.”
“He’s an important player for us and I’d be happy if he stayed with us for years.”
“I was talking with him this week two or three times and we were not talking about anything else apart from Bournemouth and how to improve.”
There has already been a bond formed between Rafa and his captain, and at the end of the games, you often see Rafa talking to Jamaal on the pitch.
Jamaal is not only a good player who is improving under the Newcastle manager, but his leadership skills are first class.
Were surprised Rafa even talked about Jamaal possibly leaving Newcastle.
But as he says “He’s an important player for us, and I’d be happy if he stayed with us for years.”
That sentence in itself suggests Rafa could be staying on Tyneside for years to come.
Rafa’s Newcastle contract runs out in 16 months time, and Mike Ashley wants to sign him to a long-term deal; that could be possible.
That’s even if a new owner doesn’t buy the club this summer.
Rafa could have realized the opportunity at Newcastle is just too big for him to walk away.
That’s even if Ashley stays on as owner and Rafa also has that terrific rapport with the fans.
That’s what we are hoping in any case.
Howay The Lads!!