Graeme Souness has been talking about Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United.
Just over a month ago, Souness said (see below) he definitely thought Rafa was set to quit the club.
Now though he believes that Newcastle will be ok this season, despite some ‘difficult moments’ ahead.
Sunday afternoon will be a good test of United’s credentials against a dangerous Liverpool side but Graeme Souness believes the manager’s talents will be enough ‘to pick up enough points to guarantee safety’.
The failed former NUFC boss believes it ‘Was a big statement’ when Rafa Benitez announced he was staying at Newcastle.
Graeme Souness thinks Rafa is a ‘proven winner’ and that even relative success with Newcastle United ‘will be a good one to add to the CV’.
Summing up the challenge the manager has in front of him, Souness points to Rafa Benitez not getting the backing in the summer to bring in a goalscorer.
One of the more interesting decisions today, will be who Rafa goes with in the front two positions, as Joselu is looking more like a £5m squad player in front of goal, rather than a natural goalscorer, whilst Ayoze Perez has been anonymous so far this season despite starting all six games so far.
Graeme Souness talking to The Mirror:
“I think Newcastle will be all right…and that is only because in Rafa Benitez they have a top manager.
“He will have them organised and solid at the back and that will be the basis for them to pick up enough points to guarantee safety.
“There will be some difficult moments.
“Scoring goals is obviously going to be a problem because at the moment the centre-half Jamaal Lascelles is their top goalscorer – they aren’t going to be able to rely on him to score goals for the next nine months.
“Goalscorers cost fortunes and the club have not given Rafa the money to recruit one.
“But it was a big statement when he said he was staying with the club.
“This is a different kind of challenge but if he succeeds it will be a good one to add to the CV.”
Graeme Souness asked on 23 August if he could see Rafa Benitez quitting:
“Yes…definitely. Obviously he is not happy.
“It is hard to speculate because you weren’t party to the conversations that took place but it would appear that he expected to get more and better players in.
“It has not happened and that will frustrate him greatly – he has had some big jobs in the past, he has worked with some fabulous players.
“He knows with the players he is working with right now that it will be a real big job to keep them in the Premier League this season.”