Rafa Benitez has spoken out for the first time following Monday’s news declaring the club officially up for sale, with the Spaniard urging players and fans to concentrate on matters on the pitch so this does not distract from our strong start to the season.
We find ourselves 9th in the table, having won three, drawn two and lost three of our eight games thus far following our return to the top flight.
It’s been a promising start, however takeover talk has been rife in recent weeks and will only intensify following Monday’s announcement that Mike Ashley has officially put the club up for sale – especially if he wants a sale by Christmas
Benitez has spoken to The Chronicle on the matter today, demanding focus amongst fans and players, reiterating the need to concentrate on events on the pitch ahead of our match with Crystal Palace on Saturday:
“I try to concentrate on football – I think that is the best way.
“People can talk about all of these things that are happening but for us every training session is similar.
“We don’t have any influence from the outside.
“When we approach each game we are thinking about football.
“That is the main thing.”
Rafa then admitted that it is ‘impossible’ to control what is going on outside of the training field, suggesting social media and paper talk will always create a potentially unnecessary distraction for players in this day and age:
“The problem is you can’t control what is going on outside.
“Especially now with social media – it is almost impossible.
“It is almost impossible to stop players from tweeting or people talking about anything.
“Even when people create their own stories, you can’t stop that.
“So we have to be sure that your team and that the people who are working with you understand the only way to be successful is to concentrate on your football.
“That’s what we are trying to do.”
As ever, Benitez seems to be calm about the whole situation, however does seem eager for the fans and his players to concentrate on the football side of events in a bid to ward of any harmful distractions.
It’s been a solid start to the season, and whilst talk of Mike Ashley leaving the club is an obvious talking point and positive moment for the club, it is important that we all concentrate on the here and now; getting 3 points against Crystal Palace on Saturday at St James’.