Rafa Benitez has been very busy since he arrived at Newcastle two years ago last Sunday.
Rafa tried top keep us ion the Premier League two years ago but was unlucky, and we were relegated with a decent 37 points.
Last season it was all about Newcastle getting straight back up, and we did that as we were promoted in first place in the Championship like we were under Chris Hughton back in 2010.
This season, after being let down by owner Mike Ashley it has been another case of trying to survive the drop.
Rafa Benitez with Academy manager Joe Joyce in 2016
But it’s starting to look like we could be successful in staying up after two successive home wins and 7 points from our last four games.
And Rafa is starting to look forward to other things he needs to do at Newcastle to further improve the club.
One area that has not been successful for the 11 years Ashley has been in charge is the Youth Academy.
Rafa was asked if there was room for improvement at the Academy and this is what he said as reported in the Chronicle:
“Yeah, obviously the Academy is always quite difficult especially now because the Premier League is getting better and better.”
“To bring players through from the Academy is not easy. We have to improve things around to make sure we can promote players in the future.”
“The fact that we were in the Championship last season and have been coming back into the Premier League means you have to concentrate all your energy into staying up.”
“At the same time, you have to keep an eye on the Academy and be sure that we improve things there.
“We want to create the situation where some of the players have a chance to stay in the Premier League and help the squad – or even make the difference in the first team if it’s possible.”
“My experience in England was with Liverpool for six years.” “After three or four years they gave me the responsibility of the Academy.”
“We changed the Technical Director at the Academy and we changed some coaches.”
“One of the coaches we brought in was Rodolfo Borrell who is now working with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.”
“The other one, the director of our Academy, was Pep Segura who is now the Technical Director of Barcelona. So we were right in choosing the people.”
“We improved the Liverpool Academy a lot. If you want to have some chances of players coming from the Academy we have to keep working hard like we are already and change two or three things.”
“We have to be sure that young players have more chances to go close to the first team because a couple of players from the Academy in the first team means that you will save a lot of money.
“Also you will have players that really care for the club.”
While we don’t know what the future holds for Rafa at Newcastle, it’s reassuring that he continues to talk long-term about the various improvements he thinks are needed at Newcastle.
The hope is he will sign a long-term contract in the summer – and that’s even if Mike Ashley is still the owner.
What do you think?