Newcastle fans are getting more and more concerned as time goes on and Rafa has not signed a new deal to stay at Newcastle past the summer.
The manager keeps saying it’s OK and there will be time to talk about his new contract once we are safe in the Premier League, but that could still be a week or more away.
We play Arsenal on Monday night and Crystal Palace at home the following Saturday so hopefully, we can get at least 3 points out of those two games, and we should be closer to safety.
Rafa has talked about the preseason trip to China, and he says it’s okay with him and good for the club commercially, but it’s not ideal for the preparation of the players.
Rafa Benitez in training
Newcastle will play in Nanjing and Shanghai between July 17 and 21 this summer.
But Rafa has had to do it before when he has managed big clubs, so he’s well aware of what needs to happen in the summer.
This is what the manager has told the Chronicle :
“What I have is experience in China. We have been there with different teams. You have to manage,”
“Obviously, from the commercial point of view, it’s always positive for the club. In terms of the team, it’s not ideal, but you have to manage.”
“We had this situation with Liverpool, Madrid – you have to manage and you have to try to do the best things possible.”
“It’s not ideal, but it can be managed.”
“I knew that the club wanted to go, and after they informed me about all the details – it’s fine.”
“You know my idea for pre-season. It’s to try to keep the team away from the training ground, but close enough so it’s not changing everything.”
“And only if you have all the conditions that you know. If you know the conditions are OK, that’s perfect.”
“If you have to go away and you don’t control what’s going on, you can have surprises.”
“When I was with Liverpool we had a training session on a long-haul trip with weights outside, and it was raining. You could not do anything.”
“Another training session was 95-degree humidity, so we couldn’t train. Sometimes, things you can’t control happen, and you have to be ready.”
“The positive thing is we have experience of that.”
“We know the program now and we try to manage. It could be positive? Maybe, but we have to be sure we do the right things.”
“It’s very difficult (to also go to Ireland) because you have to go earlier.”
“And to keep the players away all the time – sometimes it’s not necessary. We prefer not to move the team too much.”
So it looks like Rafa will not be taking the team to Ireland this summer.
It’s a trip to China and then some friendly games – and he will be keen to have the squad training at Benton for the remainder of the preseason.