We have already taken two excerpts from Rafa’s extended interview last week with France Football.
The outlet was intrigued why Rafa had chosen Newcastle United and not a more prosperous and more prominent club after he joined us on March 11th, 2016.
That was following his firing by his hometown club Real Madrid back in January of 2016.
Rafa has worked at some of the top clubs, and he has worked with World Class players like Cristian Ronaldo and Fernando Torres when he was at his very best.
Steven Gerrard was his captain at Liverpool and Steven was one of the best club players ever to play in English football for the way he led his hometown club.
We will never forget how Steven almost single-handedly led the Reds back from a 3-0 scoreline at halftime to win the Champions League on penalties against Milan back in 2005.
Rafa Benitez – with his coaching staff
But back to the present and Rafa was asked how he had dealt with the Championship and with the “lesser” players (they were trying to be polite) at Newcastle:
“I had already experienced similar situations and I had two experiences like this at Extremadura (1997-1999), then Tenerife (200-2001).”
“OK, it was in my early days, but still, I know what it’s like to play and win the lower divisions.”
“In England, many people warned me that summer: ‘Careful, the Championship is very special.’”
“In spite of everything, you have to trust your methods; do not deviate from your plans because you do not succeed immediately.”
“I knew that we had a very good group for this level. But if the players see you panic after results, it can be complicated.”
“Because the Championship is a very hard competition, very physical, and anything can happen. So the best way to keep things under control is to stay on your course.”
“On the training ground, the principles remain the same. What will change, eventually, are your tactics. “
“Whenever you are at Real Madrid or another top club, it’s up to you to play the game, to create situations.”
“When you’re not a top-five team, you’ll play more of a game where you try to stop the opposition a little more.”
“So, we will inevitably work on different blocks, directions of set pieces and different passes. But, apart from this, the methods remain largely similar.”
“Players like to be offered sessions that are rich in terms of how technical they are – so it’s both fun and rewarding.”
“It’s so motivating.”
That sounds like Rafa is even enjoying his time and efforts to build Newcastle into a top club again, with a team that eventually competes in Europe.
Rafa is motivated by the challenge to his coaching skills at Newcastle, but as we know, he’s had very little help or funds from the owner Mike Ashley.
We are hoping – come hell or high water – Rafa Benitez will stay at Newcastle for the long term.
So he will eventually manage a top club and have a great team again.