I really interesting interview with Jamaal Lascelles.
The Mail getting a bit of a scoop, a long conversation with the Newcastle Captain that contains a lot more of interest than the average stuff we get via the club.
Other media have also picked up on the interview but have concentrated on the predictable angle, where Jamaal Lascelles is saying he wasn’t happy with what Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville had to say about the tactics used in the recent Manchester City match.
Lascelles feeling that the comments about negative tactics were over the top and just plain wrong but that he had held back from biting on social media, as he felt that would have only made the situation worse.
Of far more interest, for me anyway, is what Jamaal Lascelles has had to say about the rotten state of the club before Rafa Benitez arrived, as well as just how serious it would be if Mike Ashley succeeds in driving the manager away.
Lascelles says that basically the players had no respect for Steve McClaren and treated him as a joke. Summing it up by recalling that on one occasion when Steve McClaren asked his players to get off the team bus for a walk, they simply said no to the Head Coach.
The problem of course comes when the owner makes clear that the manager/head coach is just a patsy, as was the case with Pardew and Carver, which can then easily lead to the players treating the manager/head coach with zero respect.
When players know that the manager has no authority and no say on who is bought and sold, then it is almost inevitable disrespect will follow.
This is where it is so important to have a respected figure who can create something of his own with players and supporters, step forward Rafa Benitez.
Jamaal Lascelles talking to The Mail:
“The players’ heads were all over the place back then (when Steve McClaren was in charge), yes, it (dissent) was there. Completely. It was bad.
“Steve is obviously a well-respected manager but there is only so much you can do when you have 20 players refusing to do things and not taking anything seriously.
‘That’s how it was but the minute this manager (Rafa Benitez) came in it changed.
“Because of the respect he has, players wouldn’t dream of going against what he says. I wouldn’t let them do it either.
“I can see why other people would want Rafa Benitez as he is world class.
“It would be a massive loss for us.
“Since he came in everything has been positive, from the reaction of the fans, the respect of the players and what he gets from the players and how we are playing.
“If he had arrived earlier last time round he would have kept us up.
“I have come on leaps and bounds since he has been here.
“So I think we should do our best to make sure he is comfortable and for me they (Mike Ashley and his minions) should be giving him what he wants because they won’t find anyone any better than him.’
“We need to carry on like we are going.
“We have a good manager who knows what he is doing, a good set of lads who are organised and together and the best fans in the country.
“If we stick together this club can really take off.”
Read the full excellent interview here.