While many of you are reading this, Rafa Benitez will be putting the squad through their paces on the training ground.

Talking after his team had made it five wins in a row with a 2-0 win at Derby County, the Newcastle boss revealed that the drive for perfection won’t be allowed to rest.

Rafa stating that the player would be reporting for training only hours after returning home to Tyneside after putting the club second top of the Championship.

Reflecting on the performance which bore all the hallmarks of the win at Bristol City when United shut up shop after an early goal, Rafa Benitez praised his players but said that both they and the coaching staff know that they can play much better.

Amongst the positives, Rafa feels that the players are playing as a team and taking on board what the Newcastle Manager wants them to do BUT he adds that: ‘We can improve in a lot of areas: defence, the middle, in attack, the way we play on the counter-attack…’

Life in the Championship is a series of very busy periods interspersed with far too many international breaks, something which makes the job even harder and helps explain why Benitez has accumulated such a big squad.

Before the Derby County match, Rafa Benitez made clear that all outfield players will be left out/rested at times and these next three weeks underline why.

Starting on Tuesday night away at QPR, Newcastle play every weekend and midweek until we head into October and another international break, so it will be very interesting to see just how much Rafa Benitez refreshes his team at Loftus Road.

The drive for perfection continues…

Rafa Benitez:

“We can improve in a lot of areas: defence, the middle, in attack, the way we play on the counter-attack…but I am really pleased with the team and the way they work – but they know, and we know, that we can play better.

“We had more control in the first half and scored a goal, which then made it easier in that we knew what we had to do and in the second they were pushing and pushing – so it has been a tough game against a good team.

“The main thing for me has been the team working as a team, from the strikers to the goalkeeper, also the players who have come from the bench – so that is another positive thing for the future.

“I still think that there is plenty of room for improvement and my feeling is that the team are doing well but there are still things we can improve on.

“The commitment is there and they listen to us, so that is why we have to be positive and confident for the future, the team knows what we are trying to do and are working very hard.

“You try to enjoy it…at least on the journey back, but then we have to be ready for the next one – we will train on Sunday and see how the players are.

“After that we can decide the best option, the best players for the next game.

“We don’t have too much time (before QPR away on Tuesday night) but we will try to enjoy (the win over Derby).”

(To watch both Newcastle goals v Derby go HERE)

(To view the collective Newcastle fans player ratings and to add  your own go HERE)

(To read the instant Newcastle fan/writer reaction to the 2-0 win go HERE)