Jamaal Lascelles has been making headlines on Friday morning.
In quotes released by the club to local media, he has said how ‘It angers me’ when people said last season ‘You need better players.’
With total silence from Rafa Benitez (as was the case last summer), the club are increasingly using the Captain to try and give some kind of a feel good factor.
This to a backdrop of seemingly zero progress on a new contract extension for Rafa Benitez.
Martin Dubravka is the only signing so far, with the Newcastle squad back for pre-season in only 24 days time. The club having no choice but to conclude that signing quickly, as they only had a limited period to activate the £4m buying clause in the loan agreement.
So sadly, you get the kind of feeling that Lascelles is being used by Mike Ashley and his minions to try and placate the fans, the trouble is though that as we have seen before, the more a player speaks the less the impact, even when it is a popular figure such as Jamaal Lascelles.
Whilst the latest interview/quotes are all about how well Newcastle did last season (which they most definitely did, especially with the lack of investment that was needed), you can’t ignore also what Lascelles said only two weeks ago in a previous interview after the end of the season.
25 May 2018 – Jamaal Lascelles:
“We haven’t spent much and people question how long we will stay in the Premier League – but with the right manager, obviously the right players that come in, obviously the fanbase behind us…
“The manager has got big aspirations, he wants Newcastle to really push on.”
Bottom line is that it is possible, and correct, to say both that Newcastle proved themselves not to be a Championship team AND that the squad is desperately in need of bringing in ‘the right players’ this summer as well, as the NUFC captain himself said two weeks ago.
“As captain of this team, it is not nice to hear ‘This team’s not good enough’ and ‘You need better players.’
“It angers me.
“I know these boys and I know how good they are.
“Not only that, I know they will give 110% for the badge and that is why we have not had to worry about relegation.
“With five games to go we were clear and in mid-table.
“These boys have so much about them and I’m so pleased we proved those doubters wrong.
“The fans put so much time and effort into supporting us, they really appreciate us, and I just want them to know how much we appreciate them.
“I can’t thank the supporters enough and hopefully next season we can give them another positive one.
“Our target was to stay up and get a real grasp of the Premier League, but we have done so much more than that.
“To be safe with five games to go, we were then setting new targets and seeing how far we could push, the four (losing) games we had we weren’t able to reach those targets.
“But then we finished the season off in a real positive way (against Chelsea).
“Overall, it has been an unreal season as far as I’m concerned, both for me personally, and more importantly for the club.”