Rafa Benitez thinks the issue of whether his Newcastle team is too cautious is easily answered.

Simply by pointing to the Championship table and the fact that his players have scored more goals and accumulated more points than any other club, with only eight games remaining.

As for any paying fan criticising, Rafa Benitez says ‘That is normal, they have earned the right to criticise’ and adding that they could even be doing the club a favour as ‘criticism is important for improvement’.

If that’s the case, then the bloke behind me in the Leazes End is the most important person where Newcastle United are concerned!

In this interview with Rafa Benitez, the Chronicle have covered a number of areas and here are some key ones:

‘Why not two up front?’

“We have done this in some games but to play with two strikers could be negative if that means you lose the control in other parts of the pitch.

“I would ask people to consider that we are at the top of the table, scoring more goals than any other team in the division and conceding less than the others – to change our shape it could be right, or maybe not. What we are doing is working.”

‘Fans/Atmosphere at home games’

Our supporters deserve the greatest respect this season. They always amaze us with their passion and their commitment at home and away.

But it is true in all things in life, that those closest to you can often be the most critical. That is normal, they have earned the right to criticise and criticism is important for improvement.”

‘Too cautious?’

“As I said before we are top of the table and we score more goals than any other team in the division and don’t concede many – our goal difference is 38 at the moment. You just have to look at our statistics and compare them to the other teams in this division.

“It would be a mistake to think that we are always able to run at teams and get the victory because of the quality in our squad. There are many other teams in this division with great strength and quality.

“Some people could look at our game plan away at Huddersfield and say it was too cautious, and that we should be pressing from the first minute to get the win.

“But our approach to sit back and let them come at us was the best tactic for that particular game. Football management means considering every opponent and every game in isolation and deciding what is the best way to win each game.”

‘The future’

“We can’t make the mistakes of the past and start running without walking first. If everyone can stick together and help the team go up then we can talk about the future. Then we have the chance to dream.”

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  • TheNutJob

    It isn`t working a home Rafa, is it ?

    • Jimblag23

      You’re right, we’re bottom of the league.
      Oh no, wait. We’re top.

  • Wor Monga

    How can anybody criticise Rafa?…he can point to the stats, and ask which other man could have turned the rubbish we had last year…when he arrived…into the team that we have now…

    …any other capable man would not have come here, and neither would the players…by now we’d have been way down this league, and probably hoping that there’d be at least 3 clubs beneath us to stop us falling through…that’s the reality…whether anybody likes it or not…

    …those who’ve been shouting for 2 up front since the first game of the season…don’t know much at all…Brighton have played like that all season with a far more ‘up for it’ conditioned and seasoned Championship squad and manager…

    … yet they haven’t walked away with the league, have they although you could argue that we could have if we hadn’t had such a terrible start, some disastrous goalkeeping errors, some dreadful sending offs, and long bans…or even possibly a fraction of the number of penalties they’ve been granted…

    …We need to stay behind the team, the tactics, and the strategy…because they’re focussed on getting us where we want to be next season…back in the PL!!!

    • hetonmag

      Very well said Mong Rafa will do it his way and the way I see it his way is working, we need to stick with this man if we can because he is our only hope of getting this club back amongst the elite.

    • Damon Horner

      Well put. Rafa is right, we play two up top they share the load or one remains immobile it means Shelvey is expected to defend more with the loss of a midfielder which is good for nobody. Teams play three in midfield a lot of the time because the opposition often do and it controls the most important position on the pitch.

  • David McAllister

    He’s class – and absolutely right.