Mark Lawrenson doesn’t think Rafa Benitez is happy with the Newcastle squad he has at the present.
Even after the January transfer window and three players arriving on loan, Lawrenson thinks that Newcastle’s options have barely improved.
As for Rafa, Mark Lawrenson rather bizarrely illustrates the Newcastle manager’s unhappiness with a lack of backing from Mike Ashley on transfers, by saying that Benitez ‘Wouldn’t be happy if he had Suarez, Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Bale as his front five, that’s just Rafa’s way’.
I think there is an awful lot of difference, and many many players in between, when comparing that front five and the hand Rafa has been dealt at the moment.
To back up the idea that Rafa Benitez will never be totally happy, Mark Lawrenson tells an anecdote about Steven Gerrard. After a Liverpool win, Lawrenson says Gerrard was called to the manager’s office and rather than getting praise for the victory, the player was handed a DVD of all the mistakes he’d made in the match and to go away to analyse it.
Lawrenson the making the quip that Rafa will have been doing plenty of these DVDs for Newcastle players this season.
The now Newcastle boss is undoubtedly ruthless and when players go against him, or don’t follow his instructions and/or aren’t disciplined, then they often get sidelined for long spells, or permanently…
We have already seen this with the likes of Mitrovic, Shelvey, Colback and Mbemba.
Mark Lawrenson was interviewed last week after Newcastle’s draw with Palace but before the win over Manchester United, the interview with FootballTips.com.
Ironic/amusing that Lawrenson doesn’t even reference the fact that Martin Dubravka had also arrived in January, the keeper then coming in and being man of the match in that victory over Man Utd!
Do you think Rafa Benitez will be happy with what he’s got now?
“Rafa wouldn’t be happy if he had Suarez, Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Bale as his front five, that’s just Rafa’s way.
“I remember Steven Gerrard saying to me that a few years ago when Rafa was in charge of Liverpool and Stevie G would’ve been in the top three players playing in the Premier League at that time.
“It was international week and Liverpool had just played at home at Anfield and won and Rafa said to Steven, “just nip down to my office will you I need to have two minutes with you” after the game and Steven went down and Rafa gave him a DVD and said “Steven just look at that whilst you’re away.” And Steven said “yeah okay” and do you know what it was?
“It was all of the mistakes he had made in the game. That’s Rafa. He didn’t show him all the wonder goals and all the times he had pulled them up by the boot laces and won games, it was know your mistakes.
“That’s Rafa. I bet he’s up all night making them for the Newcastle players this season!”
How do you feel Newcastle are shaped now after the window has closed?
“Not much better.
“Kenedy in the first half at Palace, the boy they’ve got on loan from Chelsea, he’s a bit of a free spirit but he’s a really really good footballer and Rafa took him off. And in all honesty, he probably looked their most skilful player but then that’s a Rafa thing.
“Slimani is the other they’ve signed who wasn’t quite ready.
“I really don’t see goals in Newcastle, although against Palace they did commit forward however, Palace had all sorts of chances and really could and should have won that game.
“I think they’re scrappy and I look at the three promoted, I know you mentioned Newcastle but I think you’ve got to lump in Huddersfield who are obviously just falling, falling, falling, they don’t have goals in them, but Brighton, obviously they signed Ulloa and the boy from PSV, but it looks like Brighton are trying to address the problem.
“For the promoted teams, it’s always about getting enough goals to win games, not worrying about getting beat by City and Man United by 3 or 4, it’s really about the results against the teams who are in the same position.
“But it’s about goals, goals make the difference in staying in the division and getting relegated and I just look at Newcastle and kinda go “am I convinced Slimani will get loads of goals for Newcastle?” No I’m not convinced at all.”