The Telegraph report this morning that Rafa Benitez has handed his squad two days off to relax and recuperate following Monday’s woeful 3-1 defeat at Ipswich.
The story suggests that Benitez believes his side need a period to recover both physically and mentally, hoping that their return to training tomorrow (after having yesterday and today off) will trigger a positive reaction from his players and help towards Monday’s huge game against Preston at St. James’ Park.
You’re probably wondering why I have worded this as a ‘controversial’ move from the gaffer, given he only has the players’ best interests at heart? I am all for them having two days off should it contribute to a win on Monday night, but I imagine several supporters won’t take kindly to this news, wondering how a group of well paid professionals have earned a chance to put their feet up following such an appalling effort on Monday.
The report states that Benitez believes a break may be crucial to ‘relieve some of the stress and strain’ currently being felt by the players.
It could be argued, however, that this in itself is a worrying thing, suggesting the squad are struggling to manage the pressure, however there will be no complaints on Monday night should Rafa’s intervention help lead to a vital win over Preston.