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Great quotes from Rafa Benitez after keeping his cool and beating Manchester City

2 years ago

Rafa Benitez says that he never said ‘I will leave’ at his press conference before playing Manchester City.

Instead, Rafa explains ‘I said that I am a professional and I have my principles…and that I will do my job until the last minute.’

The Spaniard has been in enough political situations, inside enough politically charged clubs, to know what he wants to say and how he says it.

Nobody could be any doubt of his mood on Monday when he spoke to the media and he wouldn’t say he would definitely stay at St James Park, whilst at the moment ‘being professional…do my job until the last minute’ means working up to the end of his contract in May…unless Rafa decides to change that.

Whether this very late in the window transfer action with Miguel Almiron seemingly set to sign and a couple of loan players, is enough to convince Rafa Benitez that times are changing, remains to be seen.

What is not in doubt, is that those players were most definitely playing for the manager.

To have such a squad lacking in investment, to go a goal down after 24 seconds to the reigning champions who had scored 29 goals without reply in their last six games, then end up winning, is beyond comprehension.

Rafa Benitez says his half-time message for the players was ‘stay in the game’, don’t concede the killer second.

It is that kind of work on the training pitch and discipline instilled in the team that has prevented Newcastle being taken apart very often.

That doesn’t necessarily equal negative and indeed last night wasn’t an ultra-defensive display, Newcastle were always going to have to defend for most of the game BUT Rafa did commit players forward when they had the chance to break.

Tuesday night was a reward for everybody associated with Newcastle United, with one obvious exception. A win for this seriously underfunded squad that Rafa Benitez, his players and the fans, thoroughly deserved.

Rafa Benitez asked about his pre-match press conference:

“What I was trying to say, is that you never know what can happen.

“But….I never said ‘I will leave.’

“And I never said that ‘If they don’t sign any players that I will leave.’

“I didn’t say that.

“I said that I am a professional and I have my principles…and that I will do my job until the last minute.”

Incoming transfers?:

“Obviously I cannot talk about the transfer window and yesterday, I didn’t know where we were.

“Today (Tuesday), they told me that they were progressing with some names.

“We have to see if we can finalise everything but before (playing Man City) I knew we were closer.

“Hopefully we will have some good news tomorrow (Wednesday).

“It will be positive for the rest of the season if we have some good news (on transfers).

“It is not just (breaking) the (14 year old transfer) record…to do the right things you have to be stronger.”

1-0 down 2-1 up:

We had a game plan… it was not to concede a goal in the first minute.

“The reaction of the players was important and we said at half-time – stay in the game.

“The fans appreciate how we played and the way we won against a very good team.

“We stuck with our game plan and we were good enough to score two…and lucky enough not to concede.

“Overall we needed to win one of these games and I think they were surprised they scored so early.

“Maybe they had more (over?) confidence (because of that) they could win.

“Pressure was another factor and a draw wasn’t enough for them.

“Give credit to the players because it was a great effort from everyone, to win against a team as good as Manchester City who have everything.

“They are so good, so when you do get three points against them you know the players have done really well.

“Everyone was fighting for each other.

“We did have a couple of situations where they were dangerous on the counter-attack, but on the whole, we defended well.

“We scored the two goals and kept pushing until the end, you have to be so very proud of these players.

“These players fight for each other.

“Some of the foreign players don’t read the press or watch TV, players normally are more focused on football than anything else.

“Now you can see why we did things the way we did them on Saturday (with team selection for the FA Cup.

“Doing things this way, you can win against anyone.

“One of the keys for me, is when you have a special situation (such as conceding after 24 seconds…) you have to keep calm, to keep going.

“Keep trying to do the right thing.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Manchester City 1


Newcastle United: Rondon 66, Ritchie 80 (pen)

Man City: Aguero 1

Possession was Man City 76% Newcastle 24%

Total shots were  Man City 12 Newcastle 6

Shots on target were Man City 4 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Man City 8 Newcastle 1

Referee: Paul Tierney

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie, Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu (Kenedy 87), Perez (Manquillo 90+1), Rondon

Unused Subs:

Woodman, Roberts, Clark, Murphy, Fernandez

Crowd: 50,861 (Man City 3,000)

(A must see – Watch Alan Shearer’s reaction when the winner goes in HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle 2 Man City 1 – Read HERE)


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