Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles talked after the terrific win last Friday night at the King Power Stadium – and it seems some time ago now.
It turned out to be a surprisingly comfortable game for the players and although Leicester had 72% of possession they didn’t threaten Newcastle many times at all.
Newcastle played so well as a team – it was a Rafa Benitez type of performance, and our players worked their socks off for what was a vital win.
After 25 minutes Salomon Rondon hit the crossbar with another terrific free kick.
And after Ayoze Perez put us ahead after 32 minutes with a beautiful header – we could and maybe should have gone further ahead.
Rafa Benitez with Jamaal Lascelles
Lascelles has pointed to the fact that the players have improved this season under the guidance of Mr. Benitez:
“We know we can get better. That doesn’t mean by signing players, it just means by keeping on listening and learning from the manager.”
“We’re still getting to know the league really, not that many players have played that much Premier League football. When we gain a bit more experience, we’ll get better.”
“We still need to get a bit more savvy and streetwise on the pitch. There have been some games we’ve lost through fine margins, and it hasn’t been because of a lack of quality or work ethic.”
“If we’re winning, it’s maybe been because we haven’t got the ball in the corner or committed a little foul at a crucial moment.”
“When we’ve got a bit more experience of the Premier League, I think that will be a big difference.”
“We’re over the moon (with Friday’s win).” “We knew it was going to be a really tough game.”
“Leicester have got a lot of experience, and a lot of young flair players in their team who know what they’re doing.”
“They’ve got a good manager, but we had a game plan that we’d worked on all week in training, and I think we really frustrated them.”
“I think the manager will be over the moon.”
And this will be another season for our players knowing exactly what’s expected of them from the manager.
We now have to hope Rafa is allowed to bring in say five new players this summer.
He will also need to sell the fringe players who are no longer required at the club.
Then hopefully we can have a good season next term where we are always in the top half of the league.
That in itself would be a huge relief for our long-suffering fans.
Next season has to be the turning point and it’s upwards and onwards from now on.