Rafa has put in a little dig about it being a real success for Newcastle if we can finish 10th in the Premier League this season.
Of course for Rafa Benitez, who has won three European trophies with three different clubs, his ambitions are much higher than that for Newcastle United.
That’s even though 10th place ties the second best we have done in the Premier League in the 11 years Mike Ashley has owned the club.
The manager only wants to stay at the club if the club can match his huge ambitions and that is to win trophies at Newcastle and do well in the Premier League.
He said that when he first came two years ago and now he has Newcastle in the upper half of the table he will want to be fully backed this summer in the transfer market by owner Mike Ashley.
Rafa Benitez – four smiling Spaniards arrive at St. James’ Park last Saturday
This is what Rafa has said about possibly finishing 10th in the Premier League:
“I said before, that for me to finish 8th or 15th doesn’t change my life.” “It means a lot if you can finish higher in the table, fine.”
“But I like to win trophies – not to finish 10th.”
“This time we can finish ninth, it is better that you finish ninth (than 10th).”
“But we have to improve, we cannot play again at the level we did against West Brom.”
“It doesn’t change too much for me, it is just to be sure that we play like we have to play.”
“It is like that for everyone but the difference is that they (Manchester City) have players with a lot of quality.”
“They usually keep the ball and so they have to be sure that they keep passing the ball well.”
“However, for us, it is to be sure we keep the intensity – that is the key for us to succeed.”
Rafa is simply reminding people that he has put in two tough years at Newcastle – one in the second division and one fighting to keep Newcastle in the Premier League with little or no help from the owner.
Both seasons have been successful, but now the manager wants to push on and have a (very) good team for next season so we can challenge for the top six and try to win a Cup.
That’s what Rafa wants, and that’s what the fans want.
We will hear shortly from owner Mike Ashley about what he wants – other than to get as high a price as possible whenever he sells the club.