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Rafa Benitez says ‘Those closest to you can often be the most critical”

5 years ago
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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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