Rafa Benitez has been talking about managers and players in the lead up to the new season.
Newcastle United now approaching the Premier League kick-off in four days time against Tottenham.
With Newcastle fans believing/hoping that Rafa Benitez can make the difference between a comfortable season and a relegation battle, the manager has a sobering message.
The United boss says that ‘If you have the right tools you can compete…’ and that whilst you can get a surprising result in any particular game, by the end of the season you end up at a level that matches the quality of your players.
With Tottenham the visitors on Sunday it is a topical point, as Spurs were title contenders throughout the 2015/16 season yet lost home and away to relegated Newcastle.
Rafa Benitez even says that ‘it doesn’t matter if the manager isn’t good enough’ because you can still win if ‘you have a very strong team’.
It isn’t hard to read into these quotes that Rafa is telling us he isn’t a miracle worker and that what will basically be his Championship team will be taking on Tottenham, almost certainly minus the only reliable goalscoring threat, Dwight Gayle.
In a fair fight, Newcastle fans would think that a team/club managed by Rafa Benitez would over a season be able to come out on top over other clubs with a similar standard of players.
Which brings us back to whether you believe Newcastle’s squad is at least as good as the likes of Brighton, Huddersfield, Watford, Swansea, Burnley and others?
With two or three quality additions I think Newcastle United would have a better team and manager than at least a good handful of the other Premier League clubs.
Without those further signings, then I think we are very much relying on some Rafa magic.
“The name of the manager doesn’t matter, it is about the team.
“If you have the right tools you can compete…
“When you have a very strong team, then it doesn’t matter if the manager isn’t good enough, because you can still win.
“I don’t like to talk too much about managers – the thing that matters most is the players.
“The reality is that the best managers in the Premier League have been there a while and they have been able to spend money on top class players, so they have a better squad than we have.
“Football is special because in one game anything can happen but over a full season the strongest team is at the top of the table.”