With only 45 days until the end of the season, Jamaal Lascelles has reminded Mike Ashley that Rafa Benitez has delivered what feels to be a ‘stable club’.
This has been achieved very much against the odds and the manager has managed this despite being undermined in the transfer market by the club’s owner.
Newcastle fans know all too well that without Rafa Benitez sticking this out so far, the club could/would have been staring at disaster.
With fellow promoted clubs having far higher net spends in both summer 2017 and January 2018, Rafa came out in public to say that with the lack of support from Mike Ashley, Newcastle couldn’t even compete on player wages with these two clubs.
Jamaal Lascelles says that the players also know that Rafa Benitez is at the heart of everything decent at the club at the minute, both team and fans are ‘with’ the manager.
An added unnecessary problem put in Rafa and the club’s way, was the distraction of Mike Ashley waiting until two months into the season to put the club up for sale.
The Newcastle Captain says that this almost certainly had an effect on the players and indeed you only have to look at the results to see evidence of that.
After a very good start to the season with Newcastle in the top eight in October, that then led to a nine game run where Newcastle only picked up one point and ended up in the relegation zone.
All of that time the takeover pantomime dragged on in the media and certainly can’t have helped.
When January came around and Rafa Benitez was blocked from buying a single player, it further summed up Mike Ashley’s chaotic running of the club and willingness to gamble on Newcastle United’s future.
Jamaal Lascelles speaking to The Telegraph:
“Newcastle United does feel like a stable club at the minute.
“We have got a manager who trusts us and he wants to be here, the fans are with him, so that is really important for the players.
“Now that the stuff with the owner and the takeover has died down, that helps.
“Whether it was going to happen or it wasn’t going to happen, it is less to think about as a player.
“We now know we are in a stable environment at a stable club.
“You might not really think about it much, but it [takeover talk] probably did have an effect on some individuals.
“Of course, as a player you don’t want to be in a team where there is loads of paper talk about stuff not related to us.
“You don’t want anything negative coming out.
“Everything is running smooth now, everything is positive, and I think it is just down to us to make sure we keep the fans happy.”