At his press conference on Friday, Rafa Benitez said that any player can potentially play in any match.
The Manager saying that fans have to understand that he will be regularly using squad rotation, to look after his players.
Leaving out Captain Jamaal Lascelles in only the third match of the season certainly means that we know that Rafa Benitez isn’t just using empty words.
However, Rafa has confirmed that there is one player he definitely won’t be rotating when it comes to picking his eleven players at Bristol City today.
Matz Sels hasn’t really made any major mistakes in the three matches so far but fair to say that he hasn’t totally convinced the fans that he should be playing ahead of Karl Darlow.
Asked whether he might be making a change of keeper at Ashton Gate, Rafa Benitez said this to the Chronicle:
“No, normally with the keeper you have to give him more confidence because you cannot keep changing the keeper every week.
“You can change a full-back, you can change a winger, you can change a striker – it depends on the other players around – but the goalkeeper has an influence on the team and he has to have confidence so it’s important to give him confidence.
“We signed him knowing that he was the best keeper in Belgium – sometimes that means a lot, sometimes it means little because you are going to a new country, a new league, another tempo, another style of football and so you need some time to settle.
“I think he is in the process of doing better every time – sometimes when you concede a goal it can hit your confidence – but he is a good worker, he is doing well and he will keep improving every week.
“If he can make two or three saves, then that will be great and he’s doing well so far.”
Rafa Benitez speaking before Bristol City about team selection/squad rotation:
“I like to change players because you need to do it when you play two games a week. You have to change players because they will have some problems, or they will be tired, or whatever.
“So I think it is important to send the message to our players that all of them will be important and all of them can take part in any game.”
‘Does it also send a message to fans that there will be squad rotation?’
“Yes, I think it is obvious that we will do it, we have to do it, and the explanation is simple. You have players tired, you have players maybe injured, if they are doing well you can keep players playing all games in a row – but if you have to change, everybody knows what they have to do.”