Rafa Benitez doesn’t believe that many of his players were affected by the speculation late last year of Amanda Staveley and her PCP Capital Partners Group as she tried to buy Newcastle United.
That speculation went on from October through early January, and it coincided with a terrible run of results for Newcastle when we got just one point from 9 games.
It would be easy to use that excuse for our terrible run, but Rafa refuses to do that.
That’s even after captain Jamaal Lascelles had said it was affecting some of the Newcastle players.
Rafa Benitez – no excuses
This is what Benitez has said about the downturn in form amidst the speculation of a takeover of late last year – as reported in the Chronicle today:
“I’m not convinced about that – maybe for some players, but it was not affecting the rest of the team,”
“I was not talking with them about this. You were asking the same question and I was saying: ‘No.’”
“I was surprised Lascelles said this, but maybe some players were affected.”
“I’m sure the majority of the foreign players were into reading the newspapers and going, the takeover is coming.”
“They were training – and they were training well. Maybe for him [Lascelles], maybe for some players, but still, for me it is not an excuse.”
“The reason we were not doing well is because we made mistakes, or because the other team was better than us.”
“We have to be sure in the next game we don’t have this distraction and we are just focused on football.”
“Some of them were maybe more affected but the character has been good.”
“A group of them were quite strong and, in the end, they were all together and they were reacting really well.”
“It’s also good when you test your players in difficult situations.”
That’s one of the many thing fans like about Rafa – he’s not in the excuses business.
And Benitez has often praised the character of his squad this season, and we have been doing well this year with 13 points (3 wins – 4 draws) from our 9 league games.
The only two league defeats were at Manchester City and Liverpool, and we lost in the FA Cup at Chelsea.
That’s all very good but we must win today and get all 3 points against the Terriers; that would be another massive win for us.
Howay The Bonnie Lads!!