Rafa Benitez speaks to Mike Ashley after Fulham match – Should be easiest conversation in history…
Mike Ashley was there to see it unfold.
Newcastle United hammering Fulham 4-0, the biggest win of the season.
To sum up the job Rafa Benitez has done, three of the goals were scored by a loan signing and two players who cost less than £5m in total.
After the final whistle, Mike Ashley came to see the manager, with Rafa Benitez relating: ‘He said congratulations (after the match) and thank you very much for the season. He was congratulating the team.’
As for what the future holds…’We (Rafa and Mike Ashley) will have a meeting soon…and then we will see. I can see the potential at this massive club and hopefully we can do things in the way that would be good for everyone.’
Summing up the job he has done, Rafa Benitez agreed to sell Aleksandar Mitrovic last summer but was blocked from even making a bid to buy Salomon Rondon, as Mike Ashley insisted on a £20m+ profit on transfer deals in summer 2018.
Mitro sold for £22m (rising to £27m), whilst Rafa was forced into a last minute loan deal to land Salomon Rondon, having to sacrifice Dwight Gayle as well, to even land the Venezuelan striker on loan.
Today Rondon was immense, man of the match and deservedly grabbed the final goal.
It is ridiculous things weren’t sorted a long long time ago but at the very least, Mike Ashley should have taken Rafa Benitez to one side after the final whistle today. Told the Spaniard he was over the moon to agree to the manager’s conditions on signing a new contract AND for starters, tell Rafa to go into the dressing room and tell Rondon that whatever needs to be done will be done, to sign him permanently this summer.
“They (the fans) have been so good.
“Since I have been here they have been fantastic and I am trying to give them something back.
“I am always emotional but more or less keep it inside.
“At the same time…the fans have been like this all season.”
Meeting Mike Ashley?
“He said congratulations (after the match) and thank you very much for the season.
“He was congratulating the team.
“We will have a meeting soon…and then we will see.
“I can see the potential at this massive club and hopefully we can do things in the way that would be good for everyone.
“Everyone can see we have a group of players who care.
“It wasn’t amazing (today) and I think we can do better as they were pushing and doing well.
“I am proud and really pleased but it was not the perfect game.
“He scored ten goals as his best in the Premier League and today he scored another one, he’s been a very good player for us.
“It is something that everyone can see.
“We played against a team that was good in possession.
“We were lucky enough as we were practising this corner and Jonjo scored this (excellent opening goal).”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Fulham 0 Newcastle 4
Shelvey 9, Perez 11, Schar 61, Rondon 90
Possession was Fulham 68% Newcastle 32%
Total shots were Fulham 16 Newcastle 13
Shots on target were Fulham 2 Newcastle 6
Corners were Fulham 5 Newcastle 5
Referee: Kevin Friend
Dubravka, Hayden, (Fernandez 69), Lascelles, Schar, Dummett (Kenedy 81), Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Atsu (Muto 66), Perez, Rondon
Darlow, Watts, Cass, Clark
Crowd: 24,979 (2,700 official NUFC and many more in neutral and home areas)
(Alan Shearer salutes, Rafa, team and fans HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the game HERE)
(Match of the Day Running Order announced HERE)
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