As soon as Rafa arrived on Tyneside over three years ago, he quickly picked out Jamaal Lascelles as a player who had the skills and leadership to be the Newcastle captain.
That was even though at the time Jamaal was only 22 and had only played in the first team for a few games; he was not a regular.
Rafa appointed Jamaal captain in the summer of 2016, and there is a unique bond between captain and manager and Jamaal seems to think exactly like Rafa.
He knows what’s needed from him both on and off the field and the former Nottingham Forest player has been an excellent captain of the club.
Jamaal has opened up today on how much a perfectionist Rafa is, and we could see the manager go immediately over to Jamaal at the end of the game on Saturday and talk to his captain after the 3-1 win.
No – he wasn’t praising his captain but discussing how Jamaal could have done better with the goal we conceded.
Rafa Benitez and Jamaal Lascelles after the win over Southampton
Jamaal – you were quite good but let’s talk about their goal
But that’s Rafa for you – he’s so committed to perfection, and that’s why he has a fabulous record of improving players and why players are more than keen to play for him.
This is what Jamaal said when asked whether Rafa was praising him for the win after the game:
“He was talking about Southampton’s goal.”
“He’s a perfectionist. He will praise you when it’s due. But if it’s not 100% he will tell you. It’s learning.”
“That’s why I’ve come on leaps and bounds.”
“He is not going to praise you if you don’t keep a clean sheet.”
“He’s going to think about the chances they’ve had and what you could have done to stop it and I think that’s excellent from him.”
“I should have done better with that goal, it shouldn’t have even been a cross.”
“So I will be sat down in his office and he will be grilling me about that like we lost the game.”
“But that’s him for you, and as players – we all appreciate that.”
That’s one of the many things we love about Rafa – he’s a complete perfectionist.
If we win a game 7-1 he would have an inquest on how we conceded the goal.
This man is also perfect for Newcastle – we just hope Rafa will stay with us – he’s made to measure for the great Newcastle United Football club.
There – I’ve said it!