Rafa Benitez has been evaluating Newcastle United during this latest international break.
As he waits for numerous players to return from around the globe, the United boss admits to wondering just what happened at the club before he took over.
Rafa Benitez says that he and his coaches are totally focused on ‘trying to improve things on the pitch’ but doubts if that was the case before he walked into St James Park.
The Newcastle Manager states that he is looking at both the here and now and getting promotion – but also keeping an eye on the future.
As we all know, under Mike Ashley it has been a case of simply trying to stay in the Premier League each season to get the TV cash and worldwide TV exposure for the club owner’s brands.
Rafa also revealed he has been talking with Lee Charnley about the scouting system and how the Academy is run.
One other subject he also covered was fans debating whether he was picking the right players or not and he says that this doesn’t bother him at all, as it’s just normal.
I think that anybody trying to make out that supporters are getting overly upset with Rafa because of the teams he is picking, is way off line.
The simple fact is that previously the managers weren’t allowed to build any kind of a squad and so the team usually pretty much picked itself. However,under Rafa there are at least two viable options for every position and very few players are seen as nailed on choices, the only exception(s) being Matt Ritchie and maybe one or two others.
Rafa Benitez talking to the Chronicle:
“As well as the present, we are also having half an eye on the future – the present is the next game (Brentford) and we are already looking at their team and trying to analyse what we think they will do.
“But at the same time, we’re also thinking about January, and even the season after that, at the same time though, we can’t lose our focus and that focus has to be the next game.
“We have a lot of good staff working and they are all doing their jobs.
“I try to be professional and make the right decisions but you cannot keep everybody happy in football.
“If I pick one player, some fans will ask why I didn’t pick a different one instead, that’s normal and I can accept that.
“We are really football-orientated in terms of trying to improve things on the pitch and I don’t know if that has always been the same (the club under previous managers).
“At the same time, I had a meeting with Lee Charnley this week where we were talking about the Academy, scouting and people within the staff.
“We are trying to manage the football club in a way that everybody is expecting – I think the fans are happy with that but I am also happy if they want to criticise the manager for the way he picks the team.”