Rafa has given a lot of interviews lately, and he seems to be reasonably upbeat after we have won two games in our last four games to get to 13th in the league table.
We are 4 points clear of the drop – 5 points if you consider our decent goal difference.
As Rafa has promised all season, it does seem that our players are getting better and the team has improved.
That’s because of the experience they have picked up in the Premier League coupled with the guidance they have been getting continuously from Mr. Benitez.
It’s also helped that we have Martin Dubravka and Kenedy playing so well on loan in the first team – they have made a big difference since they arrived in January.
What Newcastle showed against Manchester United and Southampton is although we may not have star players, we are a team, and our lads fight like crazy for the shirt – it’s great to see that.
Rafa Benitez – in the snow recently at Benton
This is some of what Rafa has said about Newcastle in the Chronicle – that we are a team and our players are learning:
“The winning teams sometimes have one special player who can make a difference,” “Some of the best teams are teams. We are a team.”
“We don’t have one player who can win three games in a row, like Messi or whatever.”
“What we have is a team who know each other really well, who know the jobs they have to do, and they try to do this job in the best way possible.”
“It does make me proud to see players like Jamaal Lascelles and Paul Dummett, and you see they are improving.”
“But that is because they learn. I have been doing this for a long time and it is the players who learn who you need to work with.”
“You have to coach them to think and understand the game. If they cannot, then you have to tell them ‘you have to do this anyway.’”
“But the best thing to do is say ‘listen, if he is doing this, then maybe you have to do that.’”
“After you go and watch the video, I’m asking them sometimes, ‘what do you see here?’ “
“This is how they improve. It takes time. It’s not something which you will see in one month and that’s it.”
It’s much better if the players can see what they are doing wrong or what they should do in a given situation – rather than just being told what to do.
But Rafa is obviously the consummate coach with loads of experience, and we have seen that over the two years he has been on Tyneside.
Let’s hope he will sign a new long-term contract in the summer.
He is the most important man at Newcastle United – the key man – the only man for the future.