After the game, Rafa Benitez was criticized by some pundits for his defensive tactics, including Jamie Redknapp and Richard Keys (yes – him again),
Of course, that’s their job as pundits – to criticize others (also known as giving their opinions) – so it was not surprising.
The commentary we got over here on NBC Sports was not complimentary to Newcastle.
Like at the start of the second half –“we’ll not say Newcastle are “attacking” this end – but they are playing towards it.”
The commentators were besotted with the possession stats – 81% for Chelsea.
Rafa is so successful at what he does he’ll be used to the criticism, and we don’t think it affects him one iota.
Rafa Benitez – demonstrating his sign language yesterday
This is how he answered his critics after the game:
“You have what you have, so I want to give credit to my players for the effort they make in every game.”
“It depends on the car you have, you have to drive that car in the best way.”
“It is not about me and the tactics, it is about players, the results and the bigger picture.”
“Last season, we were the best team in the bottom half and we hope to do the same again if we can.”
“You can be a little bit better on the ball, so I am not happy with how we gave the ball away.”
“But at the same time, we have to understand what we have and how we can maximise what we have.”
“I was watching teams yesterday playing 5-4-1 and it’s said they are great tacticians and they are fantastic because someone has an opinion on TV.”
“But I was watching and analyzing the stats and I don’t agree with some of these comments.”
“As a manager, you have to make decisions and as a pundit, you have to give opinions. “
“I remember a long time ago, I don’t know if it was when Pep Guardiola was at Barcelona, when they had 80% against Celtic and they lost the game.”
“Possession is just for the TV, for the stats. It means nothing.”
“You have to do what you have to do to maximize what you have. Everyone has their own tools.”
Good words there from the Newcastle manager.
And pundits give their opinions on stuff.
But managers have real jobs to do like trying to get some points out of a challenging game – whether it be home or away.
Their actions mean something and they are accountable for those actions.
Let’s just leave it at that.