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Rafa Benitez asked best Newcastle signing and game he wished he’d won as well as low NUFC crowds

1 year ago
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Rafa Benitez has signed up to be a regular contributor to The Athletic and Thursday has seen him make his latest contribution.

The site inviting subscribers to put in questions for the top class manager.

Needless to say, many of them were regarding Newcastle United.

Which game he’d like to relive?

Best signings?

Four clubs that can challenge the top six?

Falling crowds under Steve Bruce…?

Rafa Benitez answering questions from subscribers to The Athletic:

‘What’s the one thing that you think that fans or even players misunderstand about a manager’s position?’

Rafa Benitez:

‘Sometimes they don’t understand that you have to make decisions, not thinking about one game. You are analysing the big picture. They don’t have all the information from inside so you have to make decisions, even if you know that it is not ideal, but still you have to do it for the future of your team or your club.’

‘What are your thoughts on Newcastle Utd having their lowest crowds since 2010 since they didn’t keep you? It’s absolutely unheard of for Newcastle crowds to dip to 35,000-37.000.

Just shows how loved you were at Newcastle that a huge number of fans are staying away at protest at the club for not keeping you. My last game was the Fulham away match (Your last game) and I won’t be going back for many years in protest of them not keeping you.

Rafa Benitez:

‘I have continued following Newcastle United and I am sure that there will be a point when they will do well and the fans will support the team. But I also understand the situation and the disappointment now. But I have the desire to see them do well. I wish them all the best, like I did in the past.’

‘Is there one game in your career that you’d like to relive, for the wrong reasons? A defeat that you feel would change the course of your career?’

Rafa Benitez:

‘When I first came to Newcastle, the Sunderland game that was a draw and we lost Mitrovic in the last few minutes, that game could have been crucial. Sunderland and Norwich were close to us so it could have changed everything if we had won.’

‘Who would you say was your best value signing at Newcastle Schar, Lejeune, Dubravka?’

Rafa Benitez:

‘I agree the three of them are quite good signings for the money we paid. Also I would add Rondon was good value as a loan.’

‘I was just wondering what was attractive to you about moving to China to manage over there? You’ve achieved everything already in you career already so was it just the case of wanting to start something new given how things ended for you at Newcastle or would you have the hunger and desire to take on another top job?’

Rafa Benitez:

‘I went to China because the timing was right and I found that the situation was a challenge for me. At the same time, I’m keeping an eye on the Premier League and European leagues to be sure that I know what is going on and you never know what can happen in the future. I want to improve my team for the next season and I want to compete in any league I am in. If I have to come back in the future, I want to be sure that I can challenge for something again.’

‘Is there any hope for Tottenham ? Can they finish top 4 in the EPL?’

Rafa Benitez:

‘I think so. It will maybe more interesting this year, but still I can see that they have the potential to do well. We talk about ‘six teams’, but for me Leicester, West Ham, Wolves and Everton can progress and challenge. Again, I will say Tottenham have all the experience and quality to do well and to stay in the top four.’

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