Rafa Benitez is a big believer in competition for places in the side and when there is good competition, the player in possession is motivated to play well.
But there is not enough competition for places in the side at the moment, and the team almost picks itself every week.
Rafa wants fringe players like Christian Atsu, Jacob Murphy, Isaac Hayden, and Ki Sung-yueng to pick up their games and challenge for a starting position.
Jacob Murphy– must improve his game – start challenging for starting spot
This is what Rafa has said in the Chronicle today:
“I want them to perform on the pitch in training to put me under more pressure. It’s what we have to do.”
“I told the players on the bench to put me under more pressure.” “I want them to push me harder.”
“We analyze things but also sometimes when you are making radical changes, it’s because everything is wrong.”
“I don’t accept it’s all wrong.”
“Yes we are losing but we have been very, very close in a lot of games.”
“We have to give confidence to the players and give confidence to the fans by reminding them that we did it last year.”
“We have to carry on working hard.”
Rafa remains confident he can turn Newcastle’s season around.
But the longer it goes without a win, the more difficult it will become, and then it will depend mainly on the mental strength of our players to fight for survival.
The lads did that so well last season, and we need to see the same thing again this season.
But it seems yet another season fighting relegation under owner Mike Ashley, and it’s something that Rafa has said he doesn’t want to be doing every season.
Best of luck with that one while Mike Ashley is still the owner.