There are a number of things that Rafa has tried to do in the three years he has been the Newcastle manager.
One is to increase the competition for places by having more than one good player in any one position.
The other reason he wants players competing for the same position is that they tend to offer different alternatives to the manager – it gives Rafa more options.
By bringing in Almiron in late January, it has increased the competition among the forwards.
And if Rafa stays with us in the summer, he wants to bring in five new players and will also have a clearout of fringe players to make room for the new acquisitions.
Gone are the days when we said we don’t need another player in that position because we already have an excellent player playing there.
Rafa Benitez in training
Competition is the key to improved performances.
One problem Rafa has as the Newcastle squad continues to get better is that there are only 18 places in a matchday squad and there will be good players not even on the bench.
Rafa has talked about his in the Chronicle today:
“It’s one of the things I have said before.”
“We have one or two players who, sometimes, they are not even in the squad, and they are training really well.”
“Bournemouth was an opportunity for Atsu, and for Muto, to give us something.”
“You can see them in training, where they are very professional and they are working very hard.”
“You have to make a decision sometimes to leave them out of the team, and sometimes even out of the squad.”
“But it’s what you have to do. Still they are ready, and when they come in they are ready.”
“We need at least 18 players, because when you play different competitions the level of the players is quite high and quite similar.”
“You need them to compete, and then that gives you more chances to be more consistent during the season.”
More sensible comments from the manager.
Wonder when Rafa will agree to a new contract to stay at Newcastle?