Rafa Benitez Proud Of Newcastle’s Season – Given The Limited Resources

Rafa Benitez is rightly proud of the season Newcastle have had given he was given very little money to spend last summer.

And he wasn’t allowed to buy anybody in January but instead brought in Kenedy, Dubravka and Slimani on loan and especially the first two players have made a massive difference to the team.

Dubravka and Slimani were also signed in the waning hours of January 31st too – just to make things interesting.

Rafa Benitez congratulates Jonjo Shelvey – after the 2-1 win against Arsenal

Rafa has talked to Spanish radio, and he is rightly proud of his players and what the club has managed to achieve this season with only limited resources available from the owner:

“The players deserve huge credit for coming up from the Championship and, with not a great deal of resources compared with others, have the season they are having.”

“People were saying with 35 points we would be safe, or with 38 we would be safe, I kept saying 40, 41 points is virtual safety.”

“Everything is so tight that you can hit a period of six, seven or eight games without winning and you are in trouble. The team has had a sensational second half of the season.”

“When a team goes down it is very hard to come straight back up and to then have the sort of season we are having.”

“The supporters have been spectacular and they are really proud of the team.”

Newcastle are almost mathematically safe from relegation, and we are in 10th place.

At best can climb to 8th place with good results in our final five games of the season starting at Everton next Monday.

11Crystal Palace38-1044
13West Ham38-2042

It’s turning out to be a successful season – all’s well that ends well.

Comments welcome.

39 comments so far

  • martoon

    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #1

    I read somewhere we are actually safe now – if you factor in that some of the teams below us have to play each other so they can’t all get maximum points. Not sure how true this is?

  • Ron Knee

    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #2


    Stoke and WBA can’t overtake us now, but Soton, in theory, could finish on 43 points.

  • Lascelles sells sea shells by the sea shore

    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #3

    The only team I would worry about that is below us that could finish above us is Bournemouth as they can get results. I think we will finish between 9th place (the Everton game is crucial to getting higher up) and 11th place with Bournemouth the only side that could realistically finish above us that is currently below us.

    I’m also optimistic that our run in only has the Spurs away game where we might not get anything, all the other games have realistic winnable points and I include Chelsea on the final day as I think we will see the season out with a win at home against them!


  • Tsunki

    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #4

    It would be an alternate reality if we couldn’t get three points from our last games

  • Lascelles sells sea shells by the sea shore

    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #5

    We will hopefully beat Everton on Monday night, will be a tough game but I won’t be too down in the mouth if we don’t beat them as we have breathing space at the minute. I also think we will get wins against WBA, Chelsea and at least a draw at Watford but again still a game we can realistically come away with all 3 points. I think it’s realistic to not expect anything at Wembley, anything else is a welcome bonus at spurs!

  • posada

    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #6

    Waiting for an Everton ticket to arrive ?
    Anyone have theirs yet.

  • RobLeenio

    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #7

    We can get something vs Spurs – we did the double over them in our relegation season when they were chasing 2nd place. Honestly, right now given the improvement and confidence in the squad, I think we could beat anyone given a fair wind and a little luck. I’m certainly not afraid of being hammered by anyone and I don’t remember the last time that was the case in the Premier League.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #8

    I think we’ve been safe since before Arsenal. Forget mathematics, it’s hardly likely that a team that has only won a few games all season is suddenly going to win every one of their last five – not without Rafa in charge anyway. 🙂
    Stoke were abysmal last night. For a team desperate for the points to survive they were truly pants. Without the generosity of Joe Hart they would never have scored.
    Not that West Ham were much better like. Yes, they had three goals disallowed but each one was the correct decision. Only Andy Carroll’s cracking goal saved their skin. I’ll be surprised if any of the bottom three reach 38 points. 35 might be beyond them.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 17, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #9

    Spurs away is our toughest game left by a distance. Fortunately it doesn’t matter to us as much as it does to them as they want to avoid any preliminary rounds in the CL next season.
    That said, they needed to beat us the last time we played them late on in the season and we all know how that went – even with only ten men.
    It will show when we play Everton how being safe has affected the lads. It could go either way, although I can’t see Rafa allowing anybody to relax too much. It might be the total opposite and being safe might let them play with a lot more freedom.

  • Jib

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #10

    Rafa is a pragmatist and thinks way ahead
    of us mere mortals.
    He’ll be using the last few games to put his
    departees into the shop window for June.

  • martoon

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #11

    Ron Knee @2 – Of course they can but the point is for us to go down all the teams from 11 – 18 would have to overtake us and I believe that is not now possible although I’m not sure how to work it out . Anyway it’s academic because no way are Southampton going to win all their remaining games!

  • Ron Knee

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #12


    Can’t help you, mate. I struggled to get ‘O’ level Maths!

  • RobLeenio

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #13

    martoon, you’d have to do a game by game analysis, which would take you forever and probably wouldn’t make too interesting a read. I think you’ve made a good point by saying that the fact that some of them have to play each other means that they can’t all overtake us and we’re therefore technically safe. TBH, I always said I thought we would be safe with 37 points, the fact we have 41 already with more to come makes me supremely confident. We’d have to go some to fluff it up at this point and Rafa won’t let that happen.

    That said, I’m not sure the West Brom match is a guaranteed 3 points any more. Darren Moore has got them doing great things and they could spring a few more surprises yet. They’re only 9 points behind Swansea and will be battling to the bitter end now

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #14

    The last two home games are going to be something of a party atmosphere. West Brom will be relegated and Chelsea on the beach. Seems to me Chelsea players have far too much power for the good of the club. They seem to decide when it’s time for a new manager and simply stop playing for him, as Conte is finding out. The sooner Roman gets bored with them the better.
    Wonder how long they’d last without him pouring his billions into the club? He appears to be tightening the purse string now he can no longer compete with City financially – nobody can though. Be interesting to see how much he splashes out in the summer.

  • lochinvar

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #15

    RobLeenio – good point but I think that WBA have no alternative to try to win all games and that means they have to try to break down our defence which will be demanding for them. That leaves Rafa’s breakaway squad and Slim Jim space to operate in and score against them making their quest even more difficult. Think we should win comfortably but it may be quite a tactical battle for 60 minutes, so nothing too different there.

  • lochinvar

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #16

    Mike Ashley continues to spend money in retail and has become the key stakeholder in video gaming giant Game. Investment business Duodi which is wholly-owned by Elliott International and Elliott Associates, has disposed off it’s entire 37% stake in Game.
    The disposition leaves Ashley, with 25%, as the largest single influence on it’s board. Ashley acquired 44m shares in the business back in July 2017, equating to a 25.57% stake.

    Perhaps if he sold NUFC pronto then he’d have more time and money to spend on his retail and property dealings.
    We wish him well with that process.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #17

    Rob, West Brom would have to win every game and hope Swansea lose theirs. You can’t even get a bet on them going down now, Paddy Power was saying on talksport. Once they went to 1000/1 on they stopped taking bets. West Brom are gone.
    I still think the current bottom three are gone. Not sure Brighton will pick up any more points with their horrendous run in, but it would take an amazing turn of events for any of the bottom three to stay up. It’s not impossible, just highly improbable.

  • Budge123

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #18

    Only the second time ( in premier league ) that none of the promoted teams go back Down.

    And people thought the increased TV money would make staying up more difficult.

    I’d be surprised to see Huddersfield survive another year though

  • ben.g

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #19

    Leicester seem to have the same team antic’s as Chelsea. When they don’t like the manager they revolt.

  • Pottsclock

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #20

    With each higher place in the league worth about £2m – which will feed into the transfer kitty – I don’t think Rafa will be taking his foot off the gas in the last few games. I would expect to see Slimani used more because why not – we’ve paid for him and he’s had little time on the pitch? But, for example, I don’t see a scenario where Clarke would start ahead of Lejeune unless because of injury.

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #21

    Budge, I think that probably says more about those three teams going down mate. Did West Brom and Stoke not spend even less than us? Brighton and Huddersfield spent about 50m, whilst we spent 22 I think.
    That kinda shows you need to spend 50m just to stand still!
    Southampton got 75m for Van Dijk so have little excuse to offer their fans. They’ve continually sold their best players for huge profits and simply haven’t reinvested it. Bit harsh on their fans, but the owners are so tight they even took those flags off the supporters after the Chelsea match so they could reuse them next home game. How sad is that?

  • Bobbybee

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #22

    Ben g, Aye, I think you’re right mate. How they could play so poor for Rannieri and then turn it on for Shakespeare was shocking, but rumour was they wanted him gone and Shakespeare in. Not long before that went tits up either. Now they’re not happy again. Seems Vardy is chief instigator, so not sure why we would want to sign him. He’s done really well for himself to be fair, but it’s definitely gone to his head big style.

  • RobLeenio

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:16 PM

    Comment #23

    Ah, Bobby, I didn’t say that West Brom could survive, just that Darren Moore won’t let them play as if they are already relegated which will make life more difficult for us than it could otherwise have been had Pardew still been there.

    Loch, yes they should have to press which is the ideal scenario for our team. I’m still confident of beating them.

    I don’t think we’ll be beaten again this season. 3 wins and two draws will have us on 52 points which will be very nice and lovely….

  • lochinvar

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #24

    Oh dear, well he might be able to meet up with one of his former team mates.

    Ex-Sunderland midfielder Darron Gibson is facing jail after he admitted drink-driving. The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland player was three times the legal limit when he smashed into parked cars on Dovedale Road on St Patrick’s Day.
    Gibson, from Hale, Cheshire, admitted drink-driving at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court. The case was adjourned until 25 May. Sunderland have cancelled Gibson’s contract. The court heard a number of “aggravating factors”, including a previous drink-driving conviction, meant a custodial sentence must be considered.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #25


    Your comment, “Something nobody seems to have mentioned – without jinxing things, we seem to have got over our injury “hoodoo” that we had in previous seasons and early in this season.How often have we played an unchanged team for 4 or 5 games in the past? Is that partly down to Rafa and his team, do you think, as well as a bit of good fortune?”

    The Rune is working well on all fronts! 😉

  • martoon

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #26

    RobLeenio @13 – Yeah I guess somebody has done just that and the thing I read was probably based on the results. Realistically we’re probably now in a mini-league with Bournemouth, Everton & Leicester (and possibly Watford) scrapping to see who can finish the highest.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #27

    Cracking goal from AC last night saving WHs bacon.

    Just shows he’s not such a gowk with his feet and has a good all round game, if he’d started last night Stoke would have been thrashed.

    Pity he can’t play more than a few games at a time otherwise he’d be a regular in the England team.

  • lochinvar

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #28

    Essex – it’s in the ether, listen to the wind

    Rune for home rune as fast as I can
    Oh-oh ruenning man ruenning for home
    Rune for home rune as fast as I can
    Oh-oh runneing man runneing for home

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #29

    A draw with Everton would be a good result for us as we still have a game in hand over them, although I’d be disappointed if we don’t beat them.

  • RobLeenio

    Apr 17, 2018 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #30

    EGB, those runes,man – think I need to get me some of that mojo going on…

    I always thought Andy Carroll didn’t head the ball well for a big guy when he was with us, I always saw his biggest strength as being on the ground. He’s probably worked on it on the training ground and killed a few brain cells in the process, but it’s good to see he still has the ability to whack it in with either foot too.

    As you say, but for the sicknotes….

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 17, 2018 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #31

    But a skeptic might suggest that it’s down to the new training pitch and a training regime that manages to overcome the threats of injury and that there is now better medical care overall.

    So I’m happy to share the kudos with Rafa.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 17, 2018 at 2:10 PM

    Comment #32


    I’m afraid that one has gone over my head, I’ve tried to Google the words to no avail. I’m a bit of a thicky when it come to music. 🙂

  • chicousa

    Apr 17, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    Comment #33

    Nah, IT IS the runes lad!!! Thanks!!!

  • Tsunki

    Apr 17, 2018 at 2:16 PM

    Comment #34

    Lindisfarne EGB?

  • hibbit

    Apr 17, 2018 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #36

    bill all part of the tyneside christmas culture

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Apr 17, 2018 at 2:30 PM

    Comment #37

    Safe in the Premiership in all but name
    How many of the squad of 25 – players over 21 would you keep and who would you release/sell????

    Me I would keep the eight that started on Saturday that has already signed for us
    Plus sign the three loanees: Kenedy, Dubravka and Slimani
    plus keep Merino, Murphy,
    maybe Darlow and Mbemba that would be 15

    Sell or release: Elliot, Clark, Manquilla, Haidara, Gamez, Sterry, Hayden, Atsu, Aarons, Joselu

    Mitrovich I would like to keep him but most likely RAFA will get rid of

    Get in: A right back and a goalscorer and a goalkeeper for starters

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 17, 2018 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #38

    Bobby I think we will end up in 8th as Leicester don’t seem a happy camp. Once we best them I felt we were safe. I know saints can get close but I don’t think they will get near us. 🙂

  • Munster Mag

    Apr 17, 2018 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #39

    It’s interesting but Southampton were considered a model club not long ago with an evolving plan for recruiting the right managers etc. They even had the players mattrasses taken to away games to get them sleeping well etc.


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