Rafa Benitez has said that the situation isn’t hopeless, in terms of avoiding relegation and/or extending his stay at Newcastle United.
Rafa asked if he’d consider signing a new contract if Mike Ashley proved his commitment with proper backing in the January transfer market, the manager saying he would consider it because he is happy at the club.
The Spaniard reaffirmed why he moved to Tyneside only two months after leaving Real Madrid, saying he believed he was joining a massive club, with a whole City behind it, that could quickly turn itself around and become a top eight club with great potential
The Newcastle manager breaking down what comes next.
Rafa Benitez saying he and his coaching staff have the expertise and experience and are putting in 12 hour days to turn things around on the pitch, to get results in the next couple of months.
Then it will be a case of the January window and if the club/Mike Ashley ‘do things right in January’ and land the ‘right targets’, it could help transform the picture both on and off the pitch.
The other side of the coin of course is that Rafa Benitez is surely yet again telling Mike Ashley and the Newcastle fans, if he doesn’t get proper support from the owner in this next window, then it is a pointless exercise staying at the club, destined simply to endless struggles just to survive.
For many/most fans of course, they simply want Mike Ashley out of the club and a decade plus of experience has told us that Mike Ashley is poison for Newcastle United.
Friday night saw two months worth of protests announced by The Magpie Group, including a one-off boycott of the Wolves match on Sunday December, this despite Rafa Benitez having previously said he’d rather fans stayed simply supporting the team in the stadium, rather than staying away in protest at the owner.
Whatever happens in January could prove too little too late for both the team and fans.
Even if Mike Ashley very belatedly makes proper transfer budget support available to the manager, it isn’t likely to change many fans’ opinion that the owner still needs to sell up, whilst for the team they could still end up relegated despite any belated quality signings – such is the mess Mike Ashley has created by starving the squad of proper support.
Whether what Mike Ashley does, is enough to convince Rafa Benitez is a whole other question.
He has already previously stayed at SJP despite the team ending up in the Championship, would he be prepared to do so again?
Rafa Benitez asked if he could still extend Newcastle contract if Mike Ashley proves his commitment by backing the manager with transfer funds in January:
“Yes I am happy here.’
“We still have plenty of time to talk about the future but the main thing is to be sure we do what we have to do now, on the pitch.
“Then after we go to January and hopefully we can do things right.
“We have to find the right targets to improve things and do it.
“If so we have more chance to survive, last year we were at the bottom and we did things right in January, we finished 10th.
“So that is an example for this year.
“We (Rafa and his coaching staff) are here at 7.30 in the morning and leave 7.30 at night, we are trying to do things in the same way we were last year.
“I have to be calm and I have to believe because we have done this before.
“We (Rafa and his coaching staff) have been successful for years.
“When I came here, I decided to come because of the potential of the club and the city behind it.
“I felt it would be a team fighting to be in the top eight and I still believe that, if we do the right things…
“Now we are in a position that I am not happy with – but I have to deal with that. I will try to do my best.
“Am I happy with the position? No chance – but still I have to believe that we will survive.’
Rafa Benitez was invited to appear on Sky Sports’ Monday night show this week but pulled out at last minute, replaced by Graeme Souness, the manager explains why….
“There was an invitation and I said, ‘Listen, if the time is right, I will go on.’
“As soon as we win some games in a row, then no problem, but I have to respect the fans.
“You cannot go on there to talk about other things when you have to concentrate on your own team.”