Ciaran Clark came back into the side last Monday and had a solid game after he was given the captaincy by Rafa Benitez in the absence of Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey, and Paul Dummett.
Ciaran has been talking about the preparation for the game, and he has given an insight into how Rafa handles the players.
In particular, how Rafa’s man-management when we were going through that awful spell during the first ten games; that’s when we picked up only 3 points with three 0-0 draws away from home.
Rafa Benitez – gesticulating on the touchline
This is what Ciaran has said as reported in the Chronicle:
“The manager has always had the belief in us,” “We go back to the training ground after every game, we work on what we’re going to do, and he’s always right behind us.”
“It’s starting to turn around – we’re starting to get our luck in games, whereas maybe we didn’t earlier in the season – and he said it would.”
“It’s nice to be getting points now, and it shows how tight the league is. Three wins, and suddenly we’re 13th and out of the relegation zone.”
“We’re definitely looking forward now, we’re concentrating on West Ham and hoping we can pick up even more points.”
“The system worked well, and now it’s about getting focused and prepared for West Ham on Saturday, which will be a very different game,”
“We’re obviously desperate now to keep this going, and the three wins have been brilliant, but we want to keep this going and pick up even more points.”
“We’re full of confidence now – the performances are showing that. We have to keep this momentum going.”
Even though Rafa will say that Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey are fit again in tomorrow’s press conference, we don’t expect either player to start the game on Saturday.
We expect an unchanged side with Rafa relying again on the team that did so well last Monday night in getting our first away win of the season – 2-1 at Burnley.
We must have a decent chance of beating West Ham United on Saturday to make it four wins in a row, but we also know it will not be easy.
Note: Three Newcastle fans are launching an unofficial children’s book – ABC with NUFC – this Friday.
The book is an A-Z of the great and the good of Newcastle United. They’re also launching a competition to win one of five copies of the book.
All you have to do is guess which trumpet playing former midfielder takes the letter Nn?
Here’s where you can try to win a book.