After beating Stoke City last weekend, Rafa Benitez was asked if he had enjoyed looking at the Premier League table.
The Newcastle fans having enjoyed the 2-1 victory over Mark Hughes’ side and then the cherry on top of the cake being able to have a laugh and chant ‘Champions League, we’re having a laugh’, with NUFC moving into fourth place.
The United boss though was having none of it, declaring ‘I haven’t seen the table and I don’t want to see the table’
Obviously the temptation was too much though, as when taking his press conference on Friday before the Brighton match, the Newcastle manager admitted ‘I have looked at the table…but I am not really concerned about that. My main responsibility is to be sure the team play with the same intensity’.
In his pre-match press conference, Chris Hughton had talked about the small margins in the Premier League and how Jamaal Lascelles had turned two points into six for Newcastle in the past two game, scoring set-piece winners in both.
Rafa also said much the same today; ‘I think the level of the two teams could be similar. We have won three games in a row but Brighton could do the same anytime’.
Last weekend, Newcastle wasted a host of chances, particularly Joselu who could and should have had a hat-trick, and you have to feel that Rafa’s players won’t often be as lucky this season if so wasteful again in front of goal.
Appearances can be deceptive but Sunday does have the look of a game that may be decided by only the one goal with potentially few chances, hopefully the margin is in Newcastle’s favour once again.
Rafa Benitez on playing Brighton again – 22 September 2017:
“I think it will be totally different. Last year was last year and it was another competition, everything will be different.
“It will be tough for us because it’s the Premier League and we know that every game will be tough – but at the same time, we have confidence that we can get three points.
“We know each other really well and it will be difficult for both, I think the level of the two teams could be similar.
“We have won three games in a row but Brighton could do the same anytime…hopefully not starting this weekend.
“They are a good team and they can do well, we can do well, but sometimes it depends on the momentum.
“We are in a good position and we think we can win, but it is not that we will go there and be favourites, we will try to compete, to win and be confident we can do it, but at the same time I think they will have the same feeling.
“I have looked at the table…but I am not really concerned about that.
“My main responsibility is to be sure the team play with the same intensity, that we approach every game like it is the most important one.
“I said after the last game that we still have plenty of room for improvement and we are trying to improve in attack and defence.
“At the moment, we are working as hard as we were last year, but doing things a little bit better in some games.
“I think it is important to keep this confidence high but be sure that we don’t have overconfidence.
“We have to be sure that the players train well, work hard and approach the game with the same mentality as they have done in the last three.”
Rafa Benitez (after beating Stoke last Saturday) – 16 September 2017:
“I haven’t seen the table and I don’t want to see the table, believe me. I said one game at a time and now it’s just to be sure that the fans enjoy it.
“They (the fans) can enjoy it, we have to enjoy it, but we have to be sure that the next training session, we start correcting things and improving things and doing things in the way we are doing things at the moment.
“That’s our responsibility.”