After we were beaten 2-1 at Chelsea Rafa was criticized for playing so defensively.
But he said if Newcastle had an Eden Hazard we would play differently.
That was code for we will attack more.
But currently, against the top six teams, we have to defend – yes – we have to park the bus.
There are at least two reasons Rafa wants to do that – to keep down the goals conceded down, and if we are close near the end of the game, we can even nick a point or a win.
Rafa has not been given the investment he expected and was promised by owner Mike Ashley, and he is cutting his cloth according to the situation he finds himself in.
Promises made to Rafa Benitez in May 2017 have not been kept
Here’s some of what Rafa has said in ChronicleLive today:
“Look we scored 85 goals in the Championship so we can attack when we need. If we have to defend we must do that.”
“Last season only the top five and Burnley had a better defensive record than us (goals conceded). So that is the reason why we finished 10th.”
“There are different ways to achieve what you want to achieve. If you have more money you go in one direction, with less money it means you have to head in another direction.”
“You couldn’t finish 10th without hard work. The fans know that – the fans appreciate it.”
“We will try to do the same until the end of the season.”
“The problem we had was the first few fixtures were so difficult so everybody focuses on tactics and different things.”
“We did more or less the same thing last year though and we were successful.”
“Now we have to improve the things we have been doing. These are things we’re doing right but not as well as I’d like.”
“We have to carry on with that.”
“We conceded less goals than other teams and our goal difference last season was better so it means we were right.”
“You can argue if you like but with the players we have in our squad we have to manage.”
“We have to make sure the stats at the end of the season are right. It means finishing in a good position, and in this case finishing above 17th position.”
When we were promoted in May of last year, and Mike Ashley told Rafa he could have every last penny generated by the club we thought Newcastle would be in a better situation today.
That promise has not been, kept but we still did well last season to finish in 10th position even though Rafa has not been backed financially by the owner.
He may never be backed by Mike Ashley at Newcastle, but we still hope Rafa signs a new deal before next summer.
We live in hope – as always.