You can never accuse Rafa Benitez of being over-confident or resting on his laurels.
Rafa has been down to the Championship with Newcastle, and he was respectful of every team during that promotion season.
Not many world-class managers would have stayed with Newcastle when we were relegated, but that’s what he did, and that’s one reason the Geordie fans love him so much.
Even though he has won three European Championships Rafa’s feet are always firmly on the ground.
Rafa Benitez – at a previous press conference
And that’s what he wants from his players – that they do the job and don’t get cocky, carried or over-confident.
Like some of us fans.
At his press conference earlier today – Rafa sent out a clear message to both fans and players alike:
“Too many teams are still around (relegation zone). If you play top six twice in a row you may be back in a relegation battle.”
“We are doing well and fine. It’s a game that can change a lot of things. If we win this, we can push on without fear.”
“If we don’t win, we must keep on fighting.” “I think 38 points will be enough. After that, we can go for 40.” (maybe 45?)
“We have to be careful. The job is not done. Every game is a Cup final for us. On our day we can compete with anyone.
“No new injuries. Lascelles still feeling his knee so won’t be risked. Clark back.”
The fans seem confident enough about tomorrow’s game, but Bournemouth are always a difficult side to play.