People say not to read too much into pre-season friendlies and I tend to agree, but that was absolutely horrific.
Not only was it 90 minutes of our life we’ll never get back and a performance that showed just how much we struggle on the pitch without our star men, Rafa Benitez’s post-match comments were even more concerning.
He admitted that he’s now ‘really worried’ after seeing things go badly both ‘on and off the pitch’ in recent weeks and, to make matters even worse, he now claims even he has ‘no idea’ how much money he has to spend – despite insisting that he needs ‘three or four’ new signings before the window shuts next week.
Rafa Benitez speaking to Sky after last night's 4-0 hammering vs Braga..
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) August 1, 2018
The game itself was a horror show. Pre-season may be about fitness levels above all else, but we looked dejected and all over the shop in all departments. The fact the players opted against speaking to the press after the game (which is VERY rare) says it all to me and sets alarm bells ringing.
Wide open at the back, no organisation, no fluidity going forward and struggling to put 3 passes together. We looked flat, but can you blame them?
It’s a summer where we SHOULD have kicked on after ending the season on a high in the top half of the Premier League, but instead we have a frustrated Rafa Benitez who’s fighting a losing battle once again with the board.
Clark and Dubravka did well and Ritchie and Yedlin didn’t disgrace themselves, but the rest were well below par – with Dwight Gayle’s anonymous display reminding Rafa just why Salomon Rondon is being pursued as a much needed upgrade in attack.
The result was not what worried me. It was the manor of our performance, the demeanour of our players and the damning post-match interview that followed from Benitez – a manager who sounds as close to giving up as I’ve ever heard him be in two and a half years at the club.
A week left of the transfer window and worrying times ahead.
It’s time we took a stand – especially on a night where Rafa clearly has.
(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)