Rafa Benitez has been interviewed by Sky Sports with Newcastle on a four-day winter break in Murcia, Spain.
As we write this, there are four Premier League games taking place that will have some impact on the bottom places in the league. table.
Hopefully, they will go for us today.
Newcastle are not playing this weekend in the Premier League because Spurs, who we were initially to play yesterday, are involved in the 6th round of the FA Cup.
They, in fact, beat Swansea 3-0 in south Wales this afternoon.
Rafa Benitez – in sunny Spain with Newcastle squad
Rafa was asked on Sky Sports how many points it would take to be safe in the Premier League this season:
“I would say around 40 but maybe it could be less. I think 40 is the minimum, the guarantee to stay up.”
“It is always important to have players competing in the same position and when they do well they push the others to do well at the same time.”
“It is always a positive for the atmosphere and especially when you are winning.”
However, Benitez is reluctant to talk up the chances of keeping them both on a long-term basis.
“It is too soon to talk about that (keeping Dubravka and Kenedy permanently).”
“It is always very difficult. They were doing really well for us – that is the main thing for me,” Benitez said.
“The manager decides his team, there a lot of players in England that can be good and then it is about his decision.
“I am happy to keep my players with this club. I told them they are still young players, they have plenty of time [ahead] so they have to keep progressing and I am sure they will have a chance.”
“People are talking about if he has this clause or the other one has a clause, so we have to try and enjoy them while they are here and if we can do something in the future we will think about that.”
“The main thing is to make sure they are happy the job they are doing and enjoying the time they will be here.”
“We have very important games in a few weeks so if they (Lascelles ns Shelvey) don’t go with England, they don’t take any risks and it can be positive for us,”
“But I don’t say that it is right because if they go they will have the extra motivation to go with their national team.”
“I am happy with the situation now and hopefully, they can concentrate up to the end of the season and be crucial for us.”
Rafa’s been saying 40 points for a while now, and we are 8 points short on 32 points with 8 games to play.
Newcastle have a friendly game with Royal Antwerp tomorrow, and Rafa is hoping the team is indeed improving as he has forecast all season.
With Rafa’s tutelage and vast experience coupled with our younger players gaining some experience in the Premier League, it does look like we are a better side than started the season.
We hope that’s the case.