Rafa Benitez was an angry and frustrated man on Wednesday night.
The Newcastle boss making clear he is fuming after the performance and result against Braga – but even more so with the lack of quality signings in this transfer window.
The manager’s comments to the press have made many headlines but maybe this interview with Newcastle United’s official media (NUFC TV) is even more powerful.
His players refused to be interviewed by the club’s own media last night, as Mike Ashley is once again refusing to play fair with a squad bonus scheme, but Rafa Benitez still went ahead with his media duties.
Maybe he feels contractually obliged to, or possibly it is a case of just wanting to get his message out there, exposing Mike Ashley and his minions.
When Rafa Benitez is interviewed by the club’s official media, they are predictably always desperate to put a positive spin on everything.
Mostly Rafa plays along with this up to a point, but after this thrashing by Braga, he clearly was in no mood to do that on this occasion.
All of the interviewer’s attempts to go positive, met by Rafa Benitez pointing out the reality.
For example, the likes of Pardew, McClaren and Carver would no doubt have gone along with the club’s spin that the 0-0 draw at Porto on Saturday was a great performance.
However, reality was that Newcastle were terrible, didn’t have a shot all game, and could/should have been hammered five or six but for the goalkeepers, some desperate last ditch defending, and massive helpings of luck.
Rafa not mincing his words, stating ‘No, we were poor in both games’, when the interviewer tried to claim Newcastle were ‘good’ against Porto.
Rafa Benitez speaking to NUFC TV:
‘Rafa, a first defeat of pre-season, what are your thoughts on that?’
“We are not good enough, simple as that.
“We know that sometime when you are working hard you cannot be at your level, but today was a really bad day, and 10 days before the start of the season, we have to be sure that we improve.
“So we said, sometimes these games are wake up calls, we have to react.”
‘Do you think sometimes these wake up calls can be a good thing at this time of year?’
“I hope so, for everyone.”
‘What do you think were the main things that went wrong today?’
“Starting with the things off the pitch (lack of quality signings)…and then on the pitch.”
‘You got a good draw against Porto in the previous game, defensively you were good that day, today it just didn’t seem to quite be the case?’
“No, for me we were poor in both games.
“The other day we were lucky to draw and today we pay for the mistakes that we made.”
‘In terms of positives, were there any that you could take?’
‘Some of the young players got the chance to play in a good stadium, good atmosphere, maybe that will stand them in good stead for the future?’
“The attitude of the young players was good, so that is maybe…if you want, the only positive.”
‘FC Augsburg is the final friendly of the summer, you will be wanting a better performance than this in that game?’
“Yes, we need to do that.
“The Premier League is quite a bit stronger than friendlies and we have 10 days to improve everything.”
‘Always important to end pre-season with a win, or at least a good performance, isn’t it?’
“Yes, obviously we know it is important for us to improve, especially in front of your fans you want to do well.
“But the main thing is that we are doing a lot of things wrong, that is the reason why we lose these kind of games.”